"What if" speculation: the Ukraine goes nuclear?

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DEFCON Warning System

Director
Staff member
I do have to disagree with Citizen 21 on one matter: That Ukraine would be committing nation suicide by using a nuclear weapon.

Sure, firing off a nuke or three at a military target will accomplish nothing but get Ukraine vapourized.

But one thing missing from the analysis is nuclear blackmail. Ukraine simply makes a threat to fry a few Russian cities and what exactly is Russia going to do? Call their bluff? What if Ukraine goes further and demonstrates they have the weapons? Then what?

Will Russian citizens support moving on Ukraine if they know it is going to cost them Moscow or St. Petersburg?

No, Ukraine has no military card to play. But the nuclear blackmail card is still very valuable.

Now, I am ignoring Citizen 21's valid points of rats leaving a sinking ship. No way the leadership is going to stick around in a losing situation.

But not everyone there is in it for themselves. There is national pride among some of them, especially the military.

If I was Ukraine, that would be the card I would play. If I was Ukraine.
 

DarkNoon

Power Poster
I was actually going to suggest that if DN wanted to continue the debate. It's a debate that I think is well worth having - just not in a crisis thread.
@RiffRaff @DEFCON Warning System Hey if you want to create a thread go for it. Transfer/clear the debate off this thread move it to new thread.

But not sure what else to argue or debate over it. Think me and Citizens21 covered most the ground on the possiblity. Though DWSD made a good point above.
 
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DarkNoon

Power Poster
I have personally laid out my arguments and anylisis. But others want to chime in go ahead. I'll give my two cents. :)
 

Obreid

Power Poster
I was reading a doc from Ukraine on the divorce of Ukraine from the USSR in the 90’s.
Their was some debate at the time internally about their nuclear status.
The prevailing view at the time was a status of non-aligned non-proliferation.
And of course Russia and the US wanted them non-nuclear.
Non-proliferation won out.

Although I recognize citizen 21 is correct in the assessment that even with nukes they would get ground pounded. They wouldn’t be able to mount a significant threat to Russia unless they had a significant number of them and delivery systems to reach targets of importance. Tactical nukes to repel a military push are problematic because Russia would immediately escalate. So it would have to be strategic nukes and a lot of them.
That’s problematic because a program that size would be very hard to hide and that would bring an immense amount of international pressure and possibly Immediate Russia intervention. Intervention that the west would have a difficult time arguing against. At least on the surface anyway.

So that brings us back to the understandings of the Budapest agreement. There were security guarantees in the agreement from the west which were never brought to fruition. One could argue they should be protected by NATO but there is no legal agreement there. Everyone was feeling good and peace was in the air no ones going to infringe on Ukraine’s boarders.

Then 2014 came and everyone in the west said oh shit! We’ve got to do something here. And this is where we are with the Ukrainian issue.

I fully recognize much of the leadership and power structure in Ukraine is probably corrupt. Citizen21 you’ve expounded on how your own nation is corrupt and ran by oligarchs.
I’ve expounded on how my nations is corrupt in many ways and ran by our own oligarchs. My nation is in a fight with the citizens trying to wrest some of their control away from them, and that issue is still yet to be decided.
So being a corrupt puppet government doesn’t preclude them from going nuclear nor the right to security for the nations boarders.

So the question in my mind should the topic of security guarantees for Ukraine be revisited?

I don’t know the answer but I do know Russia running military maneuvers once or twice a year on the boarder doesn’t help the situation. Taking the whole of Crimea was a direct violation of the agreements. Those actions and the actions of Belarus today only point to antagonism and expansion.
Should we say oh well Ukraine is corrupt and not worth the concern. How much of Ukraine is acceptable to be whittled away. Is Mariupol and the coastal route to Crimea an acceptable loss to Ukraine to maintain peace. Putin has done it once what’s to say he won’t again.
 

DarkNoon

Power Poster
I was reading a doc from Ukraine on the divorce of Ukraine from the USSR in the 90’s.
Their was some debate at the time internally about their nuclear status.
The prevailing view at the time was a status of non-aligned non-proliferation.
And of course Russia and the US wanted them non-nuclear.
Non-proliferation won out.

Although I recognize citizen 21 is correct in the assessment that even with nukes they would get ground pounded. They wouldn’t be able to mount a significant threat to Russia unless they had a significant number of them and delivery systems to reach targets of importance. Tactical nukes to repel a military push are problematic because Russia would immediately escalate. So it would have to be strategic nukes and a lot of them.
That’s problematic because a program that size would be very hard to hide and that would bring an immense amount of international pressure and possibly Immediate Russia intervention. Intervention that the west would have a difficult time arguing against. At least on the surface anyway.

So that brings us back to the understandings of the Budapest agreement. There were security guarantees in the agreement from the west which were never brought to fruition. One could argue they should be protected by NATO but there is no legal agreement there. Everyone was feeling good and peace was in the air no ones going to infringe on Ukraine’s boarders.

Then 2014 came and everyone in the west said oh shit! We’ve got to do something here. And this is where we are with the Ukrainian issue.

I fully recognize much of the leadership and power structure in Ukraine is probably corrupt. Citizen21 you’ve expounded on how your own nation is corrupt and ran by oligarchs.
I’ve expounded on how my nations is corrupt in many ways and ran by our own oligarchs. My nation is in a fight with the citizens trying to wrest some of their control away from them, and that issue is still yet to be decided.
So being a corrupt puppet government doesn’t preclude them from going nuclear nor the right to security for the mat nations boarders.

So the question in my mind should the topic of security guarantees for Ukraine be revisited?

I don’t know the answer but I do know Russia running military maneuvers once or twice a year on the boarder doesn’t help the situation. Taking the whole of Crimea was a direct violation of the agreements. Those actions and the actions of Belarus today only point to antagonism and expansion.
Should we say oh well Ukraine is corrupt and not worth the concern. How much of Ukraine is acceptable to be whittled away. Is Mariupol and the coastal route to Crimea an acceptable loss to Ukraine to maintain peace. Putin has done it once what’s to say he won’t again.
Very good thoughts there. Thanks for sharing.

Though you did leave out the idea of nuclear blackmail as @DEFCON Warning System said early. When mentioned seems like the most reasonable hypothesis.
 

Obreid

Power Poster
Very good thoughts there. Thanks for sharing.

Though you did leave out the idea of nuclear blackmail as @DEFCON Warning System said early. When mentioned seems like the most reasonable hypothesis.
No I don’t think nuclear blackmail would work against a nation with an overwhelming number of nuclear weapons.
Consider NK, They can threaten but if they launch on ROK, Japan, or the US mainland they would get obliterated and cease to exist as a nation.
For nuclear blackmail to work against Russia China or the US one would have to deliver a devastating nuclear attack to anyone of those nations, MAD has to contain a devastating blow to a nation, not just a few population centers.
Oh oh so your going to punch me in the mouth are you. Well I’ll knee cap you and break both your arms and fracture your skull so go ahead swing away.
 

DarkNoon

Power Poster
Oh oh so your going to punch me in the mouth are you. Well I’ll knee cap you and break both your arms and fracture your skull so go ahead swing away.
If they have nothing else to lose it's a very reasonable thing to assume IF they have a few devices to use as blackmail.
 

Obreid

Power Poster
If they have nothing else to lose it's a very reasonable thing to assume IF they have a few devices to use as blackmail.
Maybe but remember mad is predicated on mutually assured destruction.
How many missiles or planes would they need to reach Moscow and get past their S-400 and S-500.
How many Iskander missiles does Russian have to take out Ukrainian airport and launch sites or vehicles in a preemptive strike. Yeah Ukraine might get one or two through maybe but at what cost in lives. I know I used to float the idea of Ukraine going nuclear but I just see them developing enough to be a sufficient deterrent. And the west can’t help them because that would give immediate cause for Russia to possibly strike us.
 

DarkNoon

Power Poster
Maybe but remember mad is predicated on mutually assured destruction.
I understand what your saying. But nuclear blackmail is different than the strategy of M.A.D...

Your right that Ukraine could never hope to deter Russia nuclearly. But it could go the blackmail rout if all is lost feeling kicks in.

Nuclear blackmail can indeed be carried out even if your foe is much stronger than you & your facing a loaded gun to the head.
 

Citizen-21

DEFCON Staff
Staff member
But one thing missing from the analysis is nuclear blackmail. Ukraine simply makes a threat to fry a few Russian cities and what exactly is Russia going to do? Call their bluff? What if Ukraine goes further and demonstrates they have the weapons? Then what?
Too many details to get into:
For how close the West is ready to stand near them at that point?
For what purpose Ukraine, from it's own opinion, exactly exists then? Being accepted into EU and NATO? By being that crazy? Also don't forget Turkey.

As the possession of such asset could open many openings for the one who possess it. To what degree Ukraine is ready to use nuclear weaponry?
Defensive - Preserve current status-quo?
Optimal - Russia out of Donbass?
The daring one - Russia give back Crimea?

Moscow is a bad target - oversaturated with Anti-Missile protection, has metro for cover and out of range. Maybe Rostov?

And we have somewhat an example - Israel-Iran scenario. Pre-emptive counterstrikes on blacksites? Not impossible for Russia to uncover and pound it.

For me it's still an impossible scenario, due to moves they do. Should have made showdown long time ago. If Ukrainians had plans for nuclear revival, they wouldn't dismantled their missile production, leftover rocket specialists from "Yuzhnoye construction bureau" left country and built ICBM's for North Korea. One hell of a freelance job.
 

DarkNoon

Power Poster
I understand what your saying. But nuclear blackmail is different than the strategy of M.A.D...

Your right that Ukraine could never hope to deter Russia nuclearly. But it could go the blackmail rout if all is lost feeling kicks in.

Nuclear blackmail can indeed be carried out even if your foe is much stronger than you & your facing a loaded gun to the head.
Any kind of blackmail is usually carried out by a weaker foe who can't possibly take down their counter foe. So they seek to stop them through blackmail instead of confrontation.
 

DarkNoon

Power Poster
oversaturated with Anti-Missile protection,
Who says they have to use missiles to deliver the nuclear devices. One could easily drive or walk it into Russia. [edit]> Border shared by Russia & Ukraine has a length of 2,295.04 kilometres (1,426.07 mi) of which 1,974.04 kilometres (1,226.61 mi) is land border.<[edit]

Just like US & Mexico can't imagine the entire length of the border is 100% secure. No matter how much one would like to think.
 
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JPod

Active member
If they go the nuclear blackmail route, I imagine they lose western support. I mean, are our leaders hypocritical enough to say on one hand "good ukraine deterring the bad russians with nukes" where for the north koreans/Iranians "bad North Korea/iran for using nuclear black mail against us (usa, Israel, etc) preventing us to do whatever we want with you"? Would it surprise me though if our leaders are that arrogant/hypocritical? Nothing surprises me now.
 

Obreid

Power Poster
But one thing missing from the analysis is nuclear blackmail. Ukraine simply makes a threat to fry a few Russian cities and what exactly is Russia going to do? Call their bluff?
Russia has seen war on their land and cities. Probably still an important part of Russian history in schools and the Misery and triumph of Stalingrad. It’s only one generation ago.
Yeah I think Russia might call their bluff.
The Rus don’t always see things the way we do.
 

rudemarine

Power Poster
I think, well no I am almost 100 percent sure what we have seen in the last two weeks was Ukraine telling the US and NATO that they will have to develop new nuclear weapons in a hurry since those who swore to protect them, had not and were giving them no reassurances that anyone would help them keep Russia from taking the whole country when they want to.

Ukraine can build any type of weapons very fast, especially nuclear bombs. The problem is, Russia would likely find out about it before they had the first weapon built. They just have too much corruption and Russian loyalists running around still.
 
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