Russian strategic missile forces training exercise. (Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation/WikiCommon)
The head of Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, threatened that Russian nuclear weapons could destroy the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries within half an hour of the start of a nuclear war with Russia.
“In the nuclear war, NATO countries will be destroyed by us in half an hour,” Roscosmos Director General Dmitry Rogozin said in a post on the Telegram app on Sunday. “But we must not allow it, because the consequences of the exchange of nuclear strikes will affect the state of our Earth.”
In order to avoid a nuclear war, Rogozin said Russia “will have to defeat this economically and militarily more powerful enemy by conventional military means.”
“Such a victory is possible with the full solidarity of the entire country with the army, with the mobilization of the state economy, with the transfer of the military-industrial complex and related industrial sectors of Russia to a military footing,” Rogozin added. “And this must be done immediately and quickly.”
Rogozin is not the first Russian official to allude to the possibility of a nuclear conflict with the NATO alliance.
Just two days after the Russian military launched its invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear weapons to be on high alert. Last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the risk of World War III and nuclear conflict was “very significant.” Last week, a Russian state-run television channel shared a computer animation of Russian nuclear weapons detonating near the British isles and flooding the group of islands in a radioactive tsunami.
Russian officials have also warned that U.S. and NATO support for Ukraine raises the risk of a larger conflict. Last month, Lavrov said NATO is “going to war with Russia through a proxy and arming that proxy.”
In another post on Telegram on Sunday, Rogozin echoed Lavrov’s earlier remarks, saying, “NATO is waging war against us. She didn’t announce it, but that doesn’t change anything. Now it’s obvious to everyone.”
“The Ukrainian national battalions and the Armed Forces of Ukraine are expendable material, cannon fodder for NATO,” Rogozin added. “They are only operators trained by NATO instructors who press the levers and buttons of NATO weapons.”
In March, U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier predicted Russia will increasingly rely on nuclear threats as losses to its conventional forces continue to mount in Ukraine.
“As this war and its consequences slowly weaken Russian conventional strength, Russia likely will increasingly rely on its nuclear deterrent to signal the West and project strength to its internal and external audiences,” Berrier said.