John Bolton warns Putin is ‘a lot closer’ to using NUKES after rapid Ukrainian advances
Former US Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton warned Monday that a battered and bloodied Vladimir Putin could use nuclear weapons in a desperate attempt to stay in power.
Ukrainian forces have made an astonishing array of advances in recent days, forcing Russian troops to withdraw from the area they have controlled since the invasion began.
The result is the first sign that the Russian president could lose support at home.
“I’ve been asked before if Putin will use nuclear weapons and I’ve always said no…except in the event that Russian troops fled back to the Russian border, where there was a chance that Ukraine would be so successful that they might be on the brink of crossing the Russian border,” said Bolton, one of Donald Trump’s national security advisers.
“Now where we are after this success in Ukraine in the north is not that point, but it is a lot closer than we have been before.”
Rather than try to reclaim the initiative, Bolton told the John Catsimitidis show on WABC radio in New York, the guns could help Putin avert challenges in Moscow at a time when he’s entering real politics for the first time. danger.
A Ukrainian soldier helps his wounded fellow soldier as military vehicles hit the road in the liberated area in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Monday. Ukrainian troops have reclaimed territory in rapid advance, which could cause trouble for Vladimir Putin
Former national security adviser John Bolton said rapid Ukrainian advances had weakened Putin’s position for the first time, making it more likely that he could use nuclear weapons.
Ukraine has recaptured thousands of square miles of territory in the past two weeks, with Russian forces routed east of Kharkov in a surprise attack and advancing slowly around Kherson.
Head of Russian Orthodox Church calls on people to pray for Putin
An ominous warning has come from Russia’s top church that the time has come to pray for Putin.
Russia is in “a time of fear” that is “deeply troubling,” according to recent comments by the normally steadfast pro-Kremlin patriarch Kirill.
“Now the time has come when we must pray more strongly than ever for our homeland, for our president, for our military, so that the country has the strength to maintain its true independence,” he said.
It comes after Ukraine won a stunning victory over Russian forces by leading them to the city of Kharkov, leading some to hope that a turning point in the war has been reached.
“I want to say again that we live in a very difficult time,” the patriarch continued.
“So our prayer today is special, we pray for the head of our state, the Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin who bears a very special responsibility.
“We also pray for all war commanders and those in power.
“So that the Lord may give them wisdom and strength, protect them from sin and error, and inspire them to actions that would protect our homeland from every threat from without.”
This included “perhaps even the most dangerous and terrible threats,” he said at Moscow’s Danilov Monastery.
The influential Kirill did not clarify what “sins and mistakes” he meant, but insisted, echoing Putin: “We must pray that all dangers will pass our motherland, so that those who dream of destroying Russia as an independent, truly independent state, will do so. left with nothing.
“Russia does not depend on centers of power outside its sovereign territory.
“This is a great privilege, but it is also a huge cross, because there are always people who want to bring such a rich, strong country as Russia into the orbit of their influence.”
Russia has a “special historical path” and a “global fateful mission,” he said.
“Today this special mission returns and is placed on the shoulders of our people.”
“The potential risk of using a nuclear weapon is not so much to change the battlefield as to strengthen Putin’s position at home, because I think his weakness makes him vulnerable and it would take some sort of dramatic step to avoid,” he said. he said. said.
“Now we’re closer to that.
“I think it requires a little bit of caution from our political and military planning, but not to delay continued Ukrainian progress if they can still make it.”
His warning echoes that of Rose Gottemoeller, NATO Deputy Secretary General from 2016 to 2019.
She said the Russians could “hit back in really unpredictable ways” after Ukraine inflicted a humiliating defeat on their forces in the north.
On Monday, the Ukrainian military reported that their forces have liberated more than 20 settlements in 24 hours, taking territory at least twice the size of London, according to the British Ministry of Defense (MoD).
The setbacks to Russian troops brought criticism against Putin over the weekend – unusual, if not unprecedented in a country where the Kremlin is hitting dissidents hard.
It has worked quickly to quell any criticism of its invasion.
But over the weekend, the situation changed when Russia was forced to withdraw troops from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
“It is absolutely impossible to beat Ukraine,” Boris Nadezhdin, former Duma deputy, said during a panel discussion on state television.
However, he allowed Putin to get out, suggesting he may have been misled by his officials and generals.
“The people who convinced President Putin that the special operation would be fast and effective, that we wouldn’t hit the civilian population…these people have set us all up,” he said.
“The president didn’t just think, ‘Why don’t I start a special operation.’ Someone told him that Ukrainians will surrender, that they will flee and come to Russia.’
At about the same time, some 40 elected officials signed a petition demanding Putin leave office.
And hardline nationalists are also questioning Russia’s strategy
Chechen leader and Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov published an 11-minute diatribe on the Telegram messaging app.
“If no changes are made to the conduct of the special military operation today or tomorrow, I will be forced to go to the country’s leaders to explain to them the situation on the ground,” Kadyrov said.
The changing tides have led to speculation that the war and Putin have reached a tipping point.
Bolton said Ukraine had mounted a successful disinformation campaign, allowing it to retake territory and change the perception of Putin at home.
“This is just when you think the Russian military couldn’t do worse,” he said.
‘They surprise you and perform worse. I mean, great credit to Ukraine here, I’m sure we were responsible for some of it with intelligence and other aid.
“But the great credit of the Ukrainians is that they have carried out a massive disinformation operation by talking for weeks about a southern invasion. Maybe months, and they attacked in the north.
There is now no chance that they can ask for a ceasefire while they withdraw.
Rose Gottemoeller said Russia ‘could hit back in really unpredictable ways’ after latest humiliation in eastern Ukraine, including use of nuclear weapons
Firefighters work on a site of a building damaged by a Russian military attack, amid the Russian attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv
A man stands in front of the gate of the local market with badly damaged shops after the latest Russian missile attack in Dnipro, Ukraine
“That would be a sign of weakness on their part that I don’t think they can afford and I think this seed for the first time in this war is important enough to have political effects.
“In fact, Putin is under threat. He’s in more trouble now than since the invasion.’
On Sunday and Monday, that prompted Russian troops to lash out by targeting critical infrastructure in what Ukrainian officials saw as a fit of anger.
Still, Ukrainians have described a new optimism.
Inna Sovsun, the deputy leader of the Holos party, said the speed with which the Russian troops were withdrawing was “astonishing and unbelievable”.
“For the first time since February 24, I can say that I feel really good,” she told the PA news agency.
“I’m cautiously optimistic.”
Ukraine’s deputy defense minister said Kiev had no intention of slowing its advance
“The operation is underway. The goal is the complete liberation of the Kharkiv region… We believe this will happen in the near future,” Hanna Malyar said live on television from the recaptured city of Balakliia.