A former head of the British Army’s chemical weapons unit has told Sky News we cannot assume Vladimir Putin will not launch some kind of nuclear attack – and that it could come in several different ways.
Hamish De Bretton-Gordon said: “It would be unbelievable for Putin to use tactical nuclear weapons. However, Putin keeps doing the unbelievable.
“So, I don’t think we can assume away the fact that he won’t use these sort of weapons.
“After all, he appointed Sergei Surovikin – General Armageddon, as he’s known – who I saw very close up in Syria over the last few years.”
Mr De Bretton-Gordon added that although it would be “crazy” for Moscow to use biological and nuclear weapons, he warned “we need to take them seriously”.
“The talk recently about dirty bombs really is the most important area for us to focus on, because Putin has said he’s going to switch the lights out, and turn off the heating in Ukraine, and all the attacks over the last few days have really reinforced that,” he said.
“But at the beginning of this war, 60% of that electricity and heat came from nuclear.
“I’m really concerned that the Russians are losing this war, and Putin cannot afford to lose it.
“The biggest threat I think is further turning off the power and turning off nuclear power stations, which Putin has said he’ll do.
“To do that, he needs to blow them up or set them on fire.”
Russian soldiers being deployed with ‘very minimal training’
Mr De Bretton-Gordon’s comments came as retired Air-Vice Marshal Sean Bell explained to Sky News that some Russian soldiers are turning up on the frontline without weapons.
“The Russians announced the other day that they completed their partial mobilisation of about 300,000 soldiers but of course, they need to get those to the frontline as fast as possible,” he said.
“They’re getting there with very minimal training. It turns out now some are turning up to the frontlines without weapons. Some are turning up with very old weapons.
“The AK-m assault weapon was first introduced in 1959. It’s the most ubiquitous of the Kalashnikov class of weapons and that’s what seems to be given to the new recruits.
Putin ‘would be crazy’ to use nuclear weapon
“Yet that was replaced by the AK 75 back in the ’70s, that’s what the mainstream of Russia uses.
“It was replaced because it uses a smaller bullet with the same charge, which goes faster and is more accurate.
“And it’s not just the equipment, it’s the logistics challenge – you’ve got two different weapons, two different spares and two different lots of ammunition.
“I’m sure winter can’t come quick enough for the Russians.”