The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Russia's annexation puts world 'two or three steps away' from nuclear war

By Liz Sly

01 Oct 2022 · 5 min read

Editor's Note

Putin has renewed his threat of a nuclear attack. The Washington Post reports on what analysts are calling the most dangerous phase of nuclear brinkmanship since the height of the Cold War.

LONDON - President Vladimir Putin's declaration of the annexation of four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine signals the onset of a new and highly dangerous phase in the seven-month old war, one that Western officials and analysts fear could escalate to the use of nuclear weapons for the first time in 77 years.

Putin has previously threatened to resort to nuclear weapons if Russia's goals in Ukraine continue to be thwarted. The annexation brings the use of a nuclear weapon a step closer by giving Putin a potential justification on the grounds that "the territorial integrity of our country is threatened," as he put it in his speech last week.

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