Ever since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, one of the greatest fears that many have had is that the Russo-Ukrainian War will turn into a nuclear conflict.
As the war is set to begin its eighth month, Ukrainian military forces have retaken some key territory that was previously captured by the Russian military.
As a result of this setback, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a recent national address in which he called up 300,000 reservists in an immediate “partial mobilization” of the nation’s reserve forces – the first since World War II. In addition, the Russian president overtly threatened to use nuclear weapons if needed.
“Russia will use all the instruments at its disposal to counter a threat against its territorial integrity—this is not a bluff,” President Putin said in his address.
“I would like to remind them, Russia also has many types of weapons of destruction, the components of which in some cases are more modern than those of the countries of NATO,” Putin added.
He additionally accused the West of “nuclear blackmail,” and said, “those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them.”
According to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia has 5,977 nuclear warheads while the militaries making up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), including the United States, France and the United Kingdom have 5,428.
For his part, the president of the United States has warned Putin not to use nuclear weapons, saying, “Don’t. Don’t Don’t. … Depending on the extent of what they do will determine what response would occur.”
What should we take away from this?
First, it’s worth pointing out that both the leaders of the United States and Russia have now openly admitted that nuclear war is a real possible outcome of the current conflict in Ukraine.
That fact alone should give us all pause, and then bring us to our knees to pray that a nuclear exchange will be avoided.
Second, it can be easier to figure out how to move forward by looking back and learning from the past.
So, what would our 40th president, a man who took on and beat the Soviet Union, say to President Putin?
On April 17, 1982, former President Ronald Regain gave a radio address to the nation on nuclear weapons.
He spoke shortly after noon from the presidential retreat, Camp David, and addressed the global threat posed by nuclear weapons, and how both the United States and the Soviet Union needed to work together to reduce the nuclear threat.
“There are a great many people who are pointing to the unimaginable horror of nuclear war. I welcome that concern,” President Reagan said. “Those who’ve governed America throughout the nuclear age and we who govern it today have had to recognize that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”
To those who protest against nuclear war, I can only say, “I’m with you.” Like my predecessors, it is now my responsibility to do my utmost to prevent such a war … I ask you, the American people, to support our efforts at negotiating an end to this threat of doomsday which hangs over the world.
Faced with the possibility of nuclear annihilation, President Reagan much preferred compromise and bilateral negotiation.
In a separate statement, on October 22, 1981, the former president said, “In a nuclear war, all mankind would lose.”
Undoubtedly, the Gipper was – and is – right.
President Putin, and all Western leaders, should take note.
Though any kind of nuclear exchange with Russia would be unthinkable, and highly unpredictable, researchers at Princeton University recently created a simulated war between the United States and Russia, and projected that in such a war, over 90 million people would be killed or injured.
Nuclear war would be catastrophic, and the loss of human life would be extremely high – unlike anything we’ve seen since World War II.
May it never come to pass!
Pray that our leaders, and the leaders of other nations, may work together to bring an end to the Russo-Ukrainian War, and that the potential nuclear fallout from the ongoing conflict will be averted.
Photo from Shutterstock.