Vladimir Putin Is 'Afraid' Of War With Nato, Estonian PM Claims

She said the Russian president's nuclear threats are a "trap of self-deterrence".
Estonia's PM Kallas (R) says Putin (L) is afraid of war with Nato
Estonia's PM Kallas (R) says Putin (L) is afraid of war with Nato

Estonia’s prime minister has claimed Vladimir Putin is afraid of war with Nato, even though the Russia president has repeatedly threatened to go nuclear on the group.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) is keen to avoid a direct war with Moscow, believed to be the world’s largest nuclear state, but has been offering essential support to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion two years ago.

Russia has repeatedly suggested that if Nato takes it too far – or intervenes directly with the war – it will not hesitate to press the nuclear button.

On Sunday, Kaja Kallas, PM of Russia’s neighbouring country Estonia, told the BBC: “Of course, we have to take everything seriously, what he says.

“He has been threatening with nuclear war for quite some time, but it has been only words.

“He’s very good at sowing fear within our societies, really listening to what we are afraid of, and giving you the fears that you have.”

She said Putin understands people are “afraid of the nuclear war” so plays into that to shock the public.

“It is a trap, a trap of self-deterrence,” the Estonian politician said. “Because if we are afraid, then we start to self-deter – and this is what Putin wants.

“We also have to think what Putin is afraid of – and he’s actually afraid of going to war with Nato, so he doesn’t want that.

“And we, of course, don’t want that either.

’But it is, to understand the messages that he is giving out, so that we would be afraid and refrain from the decisions that we would otherwise make.”

Last week, Putin told the West that Russia was technically ready for nuclear war – and that if the US sent troops to Ukraine, it would be considered a serious escalation of the conflict.

However, the White House has said in the past that this is just Putin’s “nuclear saber-rattling” and that there is no evidence Russia is looking to use nuclear weapons imminently.

Chief of the UN nuclear watchdog Rafael Grossi suggested there were not the conditions for nuclear war yet in Ukraine last week.

Senior Ukrainian presidential official Mykhailo Podolyak also downplayed the Russian president’s threats, telling Reuters: ”“Realising that things are going the wrong way, Putin continues to use classic nuclear rhetoric.

“With the old Soviet hope – ‘be scared and retreat!’”

Putin has just been re-elected for his fifth term as Russian president after suppressing all viable opposition, meaning he can legally stay in office until at least 2036.


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