Executive Summary

Russia’s strategic failures and vast losses in Ukraine have increased the tempo and intensity of President Putin’s nuclear threats. While likely designed to deter NATO states from continuing to supply Ukraine with lethal aid, a discussion of the possible actions Putin could choose to take is instructive to personnel working in the region. The four scenarios included cover a range of potential Russian actions with varying likelihoods that could be employed in Ukraine (Table 1):

  • Nuclear Weapons. It is almost certain that Russia will not use strategic nuclear weapons against Ukraine and unlikely it would use tactical weapons. The political cost of a nuclear strike as well as the limited military benefit on the battlefield and the likely military NATO response, outweigh any possible benefits of deploying nuclear weapons.
  • Dirty Bomb. It is unlikely that Russia will use dirty bombs in Ukraine due to their limited physical impact, however their primary use as a weapon of terrorism (aiming to create chaos among civilian populations) fits with previous Russian hybrid or “grey zone” tactics and so their usage cannot be ruled out.
  • Nuclear Powerplant Disaster. It is likely that Putin will continue to pursue strategic military objectives in the vicinity of Zaporizhzhia NPP. The risk to the plant from accidental damage therefore remains heightened and may increase if further offensives take place.

In in a high-attrition conflict in which Putin likely feels he is losing control of events, escalating nuclear rhetoric is an effective way to regain control of the situation – western support has often paused or faltered when Putin has referenced nuclear escalation. This analysis will be reviewed as events continue to occur in the conflict.


Table 1. Risk-assessment matrix of possible Russian nuclear/radiological attacks.

Table 1. Risk-assessment matrix of possible Russian nuclear/radiological attacks.


Nuclear Risk Management and the Recent Decline of The START Treaty

Russia has approximately 6,000 nuclear weapons – the world’s largest nuclear arsenal – and can launch its nuclear weapons from land-based missiles, from submarines or from aircraft.[i] On 29 August 1949, the Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb, which had a 22-kiloton (kt) blast. The next two Soviet atomic bomb tests were in September and October of 1951 and had blasts of 38.3kt and 41.2kt. In December 1953, the Soviets tested a 400kt atomic bomb and a 1.7 megaton atomic bomb in November 1955.[ii] The nuclear race then escalated into thermonuclear weapons and hydrogen bombs. The initial weapons were strategic, developed for delivery by long-range bombers. However, over time smaller nuclear weapons were designed that could be delivered by fighter bombers, rockets and tube artillery.

Putin’s first threat of using nuclear weapons after the invasion of Crimea in 2014 was on the 24 February (Fig. 1). Days later, on 27 February, Putin ordered Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov to put the ‘Russian Army’s deterrence forces on high combat alert’ because ‘top officials of the leading NATO countries are indulging in aggressive statements directed at our country’. This order led to no observable changes to Russia’s nuclear posture, but it did signal the importance Russia placed on ensuring that NATO forces did not intervene directly on Ukraine’s behalf.

On 21 September 2022, Putin announced a partial mobilisation of Russian citizens and in the same speech re-iterated his nuclear threats against the West. On 30 September 2022 Putin declared the four oblasts of Ukraine as Russian land and threatened ‘to protect our land with all the forces and means at our disposal’. This implied that Russia could use nuclear weapons against Ukrainian forces if they threatened the continuity of the Russian occupation. Putin cited the US atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as setting ‘a precedent’ that intimidated ‘both our country and the whole world’, suggesting that the US actions to end the Second World War would justify comparable Russian action in the future. On 21 February 2023, Putin suspend Russia’s participation in the New START agreement – the last remaining strategic nuclear arms control pact with the United States which came into force in 2011 and was extended for another five years in 2021.[iii] On 25 March 2023, Putin announced that Russia would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus.[iv]

Moscow is likely seeking to deter NATO from continuing to support Ukraine through thinly veiled nuclear threats. Nuclear signalling has previously been used by Russia during its annexation of Crimea in 2014 and in Georgia in 2008 – but not to the same extent as in 2022 and 2023[v]

Figure 1 - Timeline of Nuclear Escalation

‘Nuclearism’ is embedded within the Russian collective psyche and is expressed through ‘nuclear euphoria’[vi] – the nationalistic celebration of the nuclear assets and capabilities of the Russian Federation. This has increased since the invasion of Crimea in 2014 and manifests in exorbitant spending on nuclear weapons and jingoistic threats against NATO member states which include large-scale nuclear exercises.

Political psychologists studying Putin have analysed the content of Putin’s speeches to reveal his attitudes. This analysis covers categories including Putin’s belief in his ability to control political events, as well as factors such as whether he believes the political world to be more hostile or more cooperative[vii] to his agenda.

This research has found that Putin’s belief in his own ability to control events is likely to have markedly decreased during his tenure and following previous Russian provocations[viii]. This points to his need to constantly reinforce his power (and therefore his feeling of control) with displays of nuclear readiness. It is a realistic possibility however that Putin has a false sense of the readiness and capability of his strategic nuclear forces. It is likely that the Nuclear Forces have relayed false information through a chain-of-command that fears failure (and telling truth to power), misrepresenting the readiness of the forces. This assessment is based on a similar set of untruths which have been observed throughout the 2022-23 Ukraine conflict across nearly all other domains of Russian military power. An ever-present threat of nuclear war directed against both Ukraine and the West is perceived as a guarantee of control for a mind that feels less and less able to influence the direction of regional geopolitics. A frustration-aggression syndrome appears to have taken hold in Putin’s belief system regarding the invasion of Ukraine. This is exacerbated by repeated setbacks faced by the Russian Federation Armed Forces (RFAF) so far, including its inability to fully occupy the two eastern territories of Donetsk and Luhansk. This will likely encourage Putin to make increasingly costly decisions to secure his domestic position, justify the heavy casualties incurred by the RFAF, and maintain his standing with international allies such as China: a lack of successes to demonstrate to the public and key strategic partners will likely weaken his own position, as well as the motivation of Russian elites, the public, and partners, to continue to support him.

Use of Strategic and Tactical Nuclear Weapons

Strategic nuclear weapons are designed to be used against the homeland of the adversary as part of a strategic plan and likely target settled territories far from the battlefield. A nuclear explosion releases vast amounts of energy in the form of blast, heat, and radiation and if detonated in large cities such as Kharkiv or Kyiv, would inevitably lead to the deaths and severe injury of countless people. The consequence of a strategic nuclear attack varies from city to city based on population density, geographic size, and wider factors; however, approximations for the impact of the immediate blast radius in Kyiv have been provided below for a 500 kt warhead (Fig. 2). The use of a strategic nuclear weapon also carries the clear risk of escalation leading to nuclear Armageddon.


Figure 2 - Modelling a 500kt nuclear blast

Figure 2 – Modelling a 500kt nuclear blast


Tactical nuclear weapons have payloads of approximately 1-50 kt and are smaller than strategic weapons. These weapons were designed to be used on the battlefields against specific targets without causing widespread radioactive fallout. These warheads can be delivered via a variety of means including missiles, artillery shells, torpedoes, and gravity bombs from naval, air or ground forces. They could also be driven into an area and detonated (“suitcase” nuclear devices for use by Spetznaz teams).[ix]

Over the past decades, Russia has carried out (an overtly) comprehensive modernisation of its nuclear forces. As part of this, it has not only replaced legacy delivery systems, but has also developed entirely new capabilities and improved the range and accuracy of its tactical weapons.[x] Today, Russia has an active nuclear arsenal of about 4,500 nuclear warheads. About 1,600 of these warheads are deployed on land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and at heavy bomber bases. Approximately 2,000 of the total number of nuclear weapons are tactical weapons.[xi] Until this year, the New START Treaty with the United States limited Russia’s strategic nuclear arsenal but there is a realistic possibility this will change in the long term with Russia’s suspension from the treaty.

Officially, Russia would use nuclear weapons only in the event of an attack with nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction, or if the existence of the Rus­sian state were threatened by a large-scale conventional aggression.[xii] It remains unclear what Moscow would con­sider a threat to the state’s existence, although the Russian leadership is re-interpreting the notion of threat with Putin recently citing Russia’s military doctrine saying that Russia could use weapons of mass destruction “to protect its sovereignty, territorial integrity and to ensure the safety of the Russian people”[xiii] in order to increase the perceived threat in relation to the Ukraine invasion.

The Russian military doctrine refers to a series of conflict phases with escalating Russian retaliation (Fig. 3). At the level of local war, strategic conventional weapons are the primary form of deterrence. Nuclear weapons serve the purpose of deterring other states from intervening with the aim of preventing a limited, local war from becoming regional or global. Within regional wars, strategical conventional capabilities share the space with tactical nuclear weapons. It is only for the largest conflict type that Russia would consider using both tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.[xiv]

Figure 3. Russian Model for the role of conventional and nuclear weapons in escalation management.

Figure 3. Russian Model for the role of conventional and nuclear weapons in escalation management.


Tactical nuclear weapons are unlikely to provide Putin with a way to make operational gains in the battlefield in Ukraine, particularly in the east of the country against well-fortified Ukrainian positions in the Donbas, where RFAF have struggled to generate any significant successes in recent months. This is partially linked to Ukrainian’s effective dispersal of forces to minimise the effect of any RFAF tactical nuclear weapon or conventional strategic weapon system use. Russia would likely have to deploy 10-20 tactical nuclear weapons to halt any advance across a front of approximately 60-80km and achieve a major military effect. If Moscow were to launch a tactical nuclear strike, they are likely to create a gap in the defence in east Ukraine in areas such as Bakhmut where the battle has been ongoing for seven months ASAT 21 March 2023. However, a tactical nuclear weapon of more than 10kt is highly unlikely to be used in this town as the blast and radioactive plume could indiscriminately affect RFAF that have been steadily advancing and encircling Bakhmut in the last two months. Approximations for the impact of the immediate blast radius in Bakhmut have been provided below for a 10kt warhead (Fig. 4). Additionally, use of a nuclear weapon (even a small tactical one) would deny the future utility of captured territory and also fly in the face of the ‘Special Military Operation’s’ goals of ‘De-Nazification’ and liberation of oppressed Russophones in eastern Ukraine.


Fig 4. Approximations for area of effect of the blast radius for a 10kt warhead in Bakhmut.

Fig 4. Approximations for area of effect of the blast radius for a 10kt warhead in Bakhmut.


More strategically important towns for the RFAF such as of Hryanykivka and Dvorichna are also possible targets. These towns are located on the P79 Ground line of Communication (GLoC) which runs south to Kupiansk. The P79 also remains on the west bank of the Oskil River for 45km, to Senkove, therefore its occupation by RFAF would remove the requirement for a contested wide wet gap crossing, facilitating an easier advance into the rest of Kharkiv Oblast.[xv] Slovyansk and Kramatorsk, two larger cities northwest of Bakhmut, are also possible targets as the RFAF begin the advance towards them. Likely targets include Critical National Infrastructure and GLoCs to deny UAF logistic nodes and prevent a well-supplied defence as has been seen in Bakhmut. Alternatively, the RFAF could target the main supply routes (MSRs) in western Ukraine that head towards Kyiv, for example surrounding Lviv or target MSRs that connect Kyiv with east of the country. Following a tactical nuclear deployment, tank battalions and motorised rifle forces would doctrinally conduct a mounted attack through the gap and drive deep to exploit the strike. The tanks and trucks should theoretically be fitted with filters and sealed compartments to go some way towards mitigating the threat from the intense radiation created by the nuclear strike. Given the poor state of maintenance and repair of a large amount of RFAF equipment, it is a realistic possibility that the overpressure systems and radiation-filters on Russian vehicles would not function as advertised and would cause a significant number of fratricidal casualties.

It is unlikely that any of the perceived battlefield advantage gained by RFAF detonating a tactical nuclear device would be exploitable. The required discipline, equipment and logistics required to break through the neutralised barrier by the strike, not to mention the new difficulties created by fire, flooding, radiated zones, rubble and destroyed infrastructure would make any advance much slower than a conventional fight. A column of armoured RFAF vehicles attempting to traverse this landscape would be easy targets for Ukrainian conventional forces. Conventional artillery strikes such as the one at Zelenopillya in July 2014 or other high-end precision mass-effect artillery, like the Tornado-G and -S and the TOS-1M/1A and TOS-2 demonstrate similar levels of effectiveness in combat without contaminating territory that Russia claims as part of its historic empire, and without increasing the likelihood of direct NATO intervention, making Russia a target for a massive coalition of countries including states that are currently neutral or even supportive of the war effort.[xvi]

There are two more possibilities of using tactical nuclear weapons which bring higher risk to Russia. Moscow could use tactical nuclear weapons against unpopulated areas of the Black Sea or the Arctic to signal to the West that it is prepared to use nuclear weapons to avoid defeat and come to a political termination of the war. Russia is highly unlikely to utilise this tactic since Russia would receive all the condemnation of exploding nuclear weapons without any of the military benefits. Moscow is also highly unlikely to repeat what the Allies did in Japan 1945 and use nuclear weapons against a densely populated city such as Dnipro where a high number of casualties would push Kyiv to reach a compromise with Moscow. This type of deployment has a more strategic aim and would possibly lead to a nuclear war.

The use of any nuclear weapons would undoubtedly also come at a cost to Russia’s strategic relationships. The use of such weapons would highly likely upset Russia’s relationship with China at a time where Moscow’s relationship with Beijing is more important than ever. China would highly likely see Russia’s use of a tactical nuclear weapon at odds with its own ‘no first use’ policy and could bring a halt to their developing support to Russia’s war effort.[xvii] Not only has China become an increasingly important trading partner for Russia since a large number of western countries imposed economic sanctions on Russia in response to its invasion on Ukraine, but there is a realistic possibility Beijing is considering supplying conventional weapons and ammunition to Russia. It is likely that China is already covertly selling hi-tech products such as semiconductors to Russia, circumventing sanctions in order to help the Russian Military in replenish its diminishing arsenal.[xviii] Systems such as Russia’s Iskander-M, Kalibr, and Kh-101 missiles require specialised microelectronic components that are likely running low since these components are produced primarily by countries in North America, Europe, and East Asia which condemn Russian’s invasion.[xix] Russian missile manufacturers have tried to accelerate production but are struggling to increase volumes. Currently, the military leadership is increasingly having to resort to older, less precise systems and reaching out to partners such as Iran for assistance.[xx]

It is highly unlikely that Russia will use strategic or tactical nuclear weapons against Ukraine. The political cost of going nuclear in the war, no matter the size of the weapon, would almost certainly be high. Russia would become isolated and there would highly likely be a military response from NATO using conventional weapons to attack some of Russia’s nuclear infrastructure.

NATO has made it clear to Russia that it will not be indifferent to the use of nuclear weapons and will intervene. As Putin fears further losses of power and influence, he is looking for ways to pull that influence back which is why escalation rhetoric has been increasing; but the use of nuclear weapons is only one of the many possibilities available to Putin.

Dirty Bombs

A dirty bomb – a conventional explosive that contains radioactive material that would be dispersed by the explosion – has almost no battlefield utility.[xxi] They are weapons of terrorism aiming to cause panic in a densely populated urban setting and disperse radioactive materials to render the site unusable. The spread of radiation would be only as far as the explosion could carry the radioactive material, and deaths from radiation would be rare.[xxii]

An attack of this kind would be unprecedented and could lead to many deaths if detonated in a crowded civilian area. Efforts to aid victims would be greatly complicated by the radioactive contamination caused. A dirty bomb however is unlikely to be used against Ukrainian military targets as its forces tend to spread out rather than gather in large crowds.

Russian statements, including at the UN, have accused Ukraine of preparing such a weapon to use against its own territory as a ‘false flag’ attack. This has caused concern as Russia has been previously known to accuse others of actions that it plans to take itself.[xxiii] Any such false-flag could be used as a pretext to escalate the war.

Russia is highly unlikely to use a dirty bomb in Ukraine. If clearly attributable to Russia (and given enough international support to claim this) The political implications of being proven to be responsible for dirty bomb use would be substantial, likely leading to calls for a military response from the international community and further isolating Russia. It is likely that Russia-aligned states such as China and India would drastically weaken their support and condemn the use of these weapons, although there is a realistic possibility that if Russia claimed the bomb to be a Ukrainian false-flag attack on its own citizens, those states would remain neutral claiming evidence was insufficient to apportion blame. Such a course of action could increase Russia’s confidence in using dirty bombs with less fear of decisive retaliation from the international community. Though this weapon type might serve some purpose in spreading terror amongst the Ukrainian population and impacting the course of negotiations, its lack of military utility and the incredible reputational damage that would be done to Russia by adopting terrorist tactics reduces the likelihood of its use.


Radiological Incident/Leak

Zaporizhzhia, a town in South-Eastern Ukraine hosts Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. It had previously served up to 10 million residents in Ukraine and accounted for approximately 21% of electrical generation in the country.[xxiv] The plant was captured by Russian forces in March 2022 and has continued to be manned by an under-staffed Ukrainian skeleton crew ever since.[xxv] On 9 March 2023, Russia launched a wave of missile attacks aimed at buildings and infrastructure from Kharkiv in the north to Odesa in the south and Zhytomyr in the west. Following the missile strike Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) was left without electricity supply. A 750kv line bringing electricity to the plant was damaged by shelling leaving the plant without any source for its cooling systems, which are essential for the safety of the reactors. It is likely that Russia intends to redirect the electricity generated at Zaporizhzhia NPP to serve occupied settlements in Crimea instead[xxvi], making it further unlikely that they would deliberately attempt to destroy it.

Russian missile strikes have previously knocked out power across parts of Ukraine including infrastructure that serves Zaporizhzhia NPP. The site has been subject to frequent power outages since the beginning of the war.[xxvii] During power outages the plant is supplied by emergency diesel generators in order to allow essential safety functions to continue working such as cooling.[xxviii] Without these systems operating normally the probability of a nuclear meltdown occurring increases substantially.[xxix] The cooling system at the plant relies on drawing water from the Kakhovka Reservoir – a massive lake that satellite imagery shows Russian forces apparently draining, further increasing the likelihood of a meltdown. [xxx] Heat must be constantly removed from a NPP or the equipment inside begins to melt making an explosion of hydrogen likely.[xxxi] I response to this, all reactors have been shut down but maintained in a state that can be relatively easily reactivated. Fuel rods and other material have not been completely removed from the system.

Shutting down the reactors does not eliminate the dangers of the radioactive material inside the power plant. This fuel is stored in cooling pools for up to 5 years before it can be sent to a dry storage facility on-site. Storage units holding spent nuclear fuel have been previously impacted by Russian munitions. A leak could cause an environmental disaster.[xxxii] This would be difficult to detect as shelling has damaged the sensors monitoring radiation levels. The consequences would be long-term with some models indicating that an accident at Zaporizhzhia could render unusable 100,000 hectares of agricultural land (0.24% of Ukraine’s total farmland) resulting in the loss of 30.9 thousand tonnes of sunflower crop per year, the most important crop to the (pre-war) Ukrainian economy[xxxiii].

A disaster at Zaporizhzhia, while major, might be mitigated somewhat by actions already taken. In September 2022 all six reactors were shut down. As of mid-February 2023, four were in “cold shutdown” and two were in “hot shutdown.”[xxxiv] This has removed a large element of risk as should the plant be disconnected from electrical power for an extended period of time, operators will not have to worry about cooling operating reactors with emergency diesel generators.[xxxv] In addition the relatively modern (compared to Chernobyl) thicker-walled design of Zaporizhzhia NPP could reduce the severity of any leaks of radioactive material into the environment.[xxxvi]

In the event of a radiation release a plume of radioactive material would be released.[xxxvii] Weather conditions are highly variable in this region with wind directions changing frequently. The path and spread of a hypothetical plume cannot therefore be accurately modelled.[xxxviii] The plume could travel in any direction. Given the central geographic position of Zaporizhzhia this could affect Russian forces with as much likelihood as it could affect Ukrainians.

The population’s reaction to a release of radiation would likely lead to great additional stressors on local and national infrastructure. A surge in patients presenting at hospitals with symptoms of radiation sickness (even when they do not have it) could temporarily overwhelm staff while a civilian rush to leave the area would present further difficulties. The immediate psychological toll on the population would be severe.[xxxix] A radioactive release from any of Ukraine’s NPPs would be an international humanitarian catastrophe. Potassium iodine tablets have been donated in large quantities to the Ukrainian authorities to increase the level of protection in personnel in the vicinity of Zaporizhzhia NPP.[xl]

Overall it is unlikely that Russia will deliberately target Zaporizhzhia NPP as it is perceived as infrastructure that could be repurposed to generate electricity for Russia itself.[xli] In addition, the ‘cold shutdown’ state of the reactors has likely reduced any strategic value in destroying the infrastructure that powers the plant as the probability of a nuclear meltdown occurring has been greatly reduced compared to when the plant is operating normally. With Russian forces currently in control of the plant the most likely change to the status quo would be if Ukrainian forces were to mount an effective counter-offensive and attempt to re-take control. In this scenario it is a realistic possibility that Russian forces would threaten to induce a disaster (for example through targeting the tanks storing spent radioactive fuel) as a deterrent, or create an incident and then blame Ukrainian offensive activity in an effort to escape any repercussions.

Russian forces continue to maintain a significant presence around Zaporizhzhia NPP, ensuring an ever-present threat that dissuades military intervention by Ukrainian forces. The draining of the reservoir that cools Zaporizhzhia NPP’s reactors could possibly lead to nuclear meltdown and a resulting explosion, producing a radioactive plume if left unchecked. Constant shelling in the vicinity, as well as the use of grenades and conventional weapons in the initial assault on the plant indicate a willingness to take large risks to ensure continued occupation. The reinforced exterior of the reactors mean that shelling alone would require several targeted hits to break through and expose nuclear material[xlii], ruling out an ‘accidental’ strike. A strike on either the dry storage or cooling tanks, where spent but still radioactive nuclear fuel is kept, could be delivered via artillery, air-to-surface missile or via a ground-based explosion using an explosive such as TNT.


Future Outlook

Russia’s dwindling arsenal of non-nuclear strategic weapons along with Ukraine’s increasing military, financial and humanitarian aid are highly likely pressurising Putin to make desperate decisions whilst maintaining Russia’s limited strategic relations. Moscow’s economic reliance on China will continue to grow even once the Power of Siberia natural gas pipeline is re-routed from supplying Europe and directed to China instead.[xliii] Russia’s dependence on China will likely deter Russia from deploying nuclear weapons or dirty bombs in fear of losing an important strategic relation. The high uncertainty regarding the utility of tactical weapons and the possible damaging effects on the Russian armed forces are also important factors that will likely deter Moscow from using nuclear weapons. It is highly likely that Russia’s withdrawal from the START treaty is intended as a rhetorical warning to the United States and will not significantly materially alter the direction of the war, as well as allow for further weapon development for use in their nuclear tried of deterrence.

It is likely that Putin will continue to pursue strategic military objectives in the vicinity of Zaporizhzhia NPP. The risk to the plant of accidental damage therefore remains heightened and may increase if further offensives take place.


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[i] https://www.icanw.org/russia

[ii] The-Russian-Way-of-War-Grau-Bartles

[iii] https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/publication/the-role-of-nuclear-weapons-in-russias-strategic-deterrence

[iv] https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/25/putin-says-moscow-to-station-nuclear-weapons-in-belarus-for-the-first-time-since-the-1990s.html

[v] https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/publication/the-role-of-nuclear-weapons-in-russias-strategic-deterrence

[vi] Ritchie, Nick. “Nuclear Weapons and Putin’s War: Roundtable.” (2022).

[vii] Dyson, Stephen Benedict, and Matthew J. Parent. “The operational code approach to profiling political leaders: understanding Vladimir Putin.” Intelligence and National Security 33.1 (2018): 84-100.

[viii] Schafer, Mark, Didara Nurmanova, and Stephen G. Walker. “Revisiting the operational code of Vladimir Putin.” Operational Code Analysis and Foreign Policy Roles. Routledge, 2021. 45-68.

[ix] https://www.icanw.org/will_putin_use_nuclear_weapons?locale=en_

[x] https://www.icanw.org/will_putin_use_nuclear_weapons?locale=en

[xi] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-60664169

[xii] https://sgp.fas.org/crs/nuke/R45861.pdf.

[xiii]  https://www.19fortyfive.com/2023/03/nuclear-weapons-and-russian-doctrine-are-an-explosive-mix/

[xiv] Michael Kofman, Anya Fink, Jeffrey Edmonds., Russian Strategy for Escalation Management: Evolution of Key Concepts. April 2020

[xv] https://prevail-group.prezly.com/ukraine-tactical-military-situation-and-outlook-as-at-1300z-15-march-23

[xvi] https://www.iiss.org/blogs/analysis/2022/10/russia-is-unlikely-to-use-nuclear-weapons-in-ukraine.

[xvii] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-60664169.

[xviii] https://www.bbc.com/news/60571253.

[xix] https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/publication/the-role-of-nuclear-weapons-in-russias-strategic-deterrence

[xx] https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/01/05/iran-russia-drones-ukraine-war-military-cooperation/

[xxi] https://www.iiss.org/blogs/analysis/2022/10/russias-dirty-bomb-diplomacy

[xxii] https://blog.ucsusa.org/emacdonald/a-dirty-bomb-is-not-a-nuclear-bomb/

[xxiii] https://blog.ucsusa.org/emacdonald/a-dirty-bomb-is-not-a-nuclear-bomb/

[xxiv] https://www.scirp.org/pdf/oalibj_2023022315464110.pdf

[xxv] https://www.npr.org/2023/03/09/1162172158/ukraine-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-power-russia

[xxvi] https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraines-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-disconnected-grid-2022-11-03/

[xxvii] https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Emergency-generators-in-use-as-Zaporizhzhia-loses

[xxviii] https://www.cnbc.com/2022/10/08/zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-loses-remaining-power-due-to-shelling.html

[xxix] https://www.npr.org/2023/03/09/1162172158/ukraine-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-power-russia

[xxx] https://www.npr.org/2023/02/10/1155761686/russia-is-draining-a-massive-ukrainian-reservoir-endangering-a-nuclear-plant

[xxxi] https://texty.org.ua/projects/109061/nuclear-terror-how-russia-took-nuclear-plant-and-people-enerhodar-hostage/

[xxxii] https://texty.org.ua/projects/109061/nuclear-terror-how-russia-took-nuclear-plant-and-people-enerhodar-hostage/

[xxxiii] https://reliefweb.int/report/ukraine/ukraine-sunflower-oil-production-october-2022

[xxxiv] https://www.lemonde.fr/en/europe/article/2023/02/23/war-in-ukraine-situation-at-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-unpredictable_6017018_143.html

[xxxv] https://theconversation.com/cold-shutdown-reduces-risk-of-disaster-at-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-but-combat-around-spent-fuel-still-poses-a-threat-190516

[xxxvi] https://www.npr.org/2023/03/09/1162172158/ukraine-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-power-russia

[xxxvii] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/8/11/what-happens-if-ukraines-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-explodes

[xxxviii] https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-02811-8

[xxxiv] https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/8/11/what-happens-if-ukraines-zaporizhzhia-nuclear-plant-explodes

[xl] https://civil-protection-humanitarian-aid.ec.europa.eu/news-stories/news/ukraine-eu-donates-5-million-potassium-iodide-tablets-protect-ukrainians-potential-radiation-2022-08-30_en

[xli] https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2023/mar/09/russia-ukraine-war-live-news-russian-missile-strikes-blackouts-odesa-kharkiv-latest-updates

[xlii] https://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Zaporizhzhia-damage-being-assessed-after-shelling

[xliii] https://www.ft.com/content/73d50de6-53c8-4bf6-adf9-8cf108f82ca1