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Poll: More and more Russians think a nuclear strike on Ukraine is justified

by Chris York and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 6, 2024 5:34 PM 2 min read
A Russian nuclear missile rolls along Red Square during a military parade on June 24, 2020, in Moscow, Russia. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
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One in three Russians believe a nuclear strike against Ukraine would be justified, according to research from the Levada Center, a Russian independent polling organization.

In polling released on July 4, 10% of respondents said they believed such an attack could "definitely" be justified, while 24% said "probably."

The figures, collected in June 2024, had increased by 5 percentage points over the past year.

While a majority of respondents – 52% – are against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine, this is a decrease from 56% in April 2023.

The polling found those who approved of a nuclear strikes tended to be older and got their news from Russian state media.

Those against were younger and tended to get their news from YouTube.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said in an interview published on May 25 that the U.S. had told Russia that if it uses nuclear weapons, there will be an American response using conventional weapons on Russian forces in Ukraine.

"The Americans have told the Russians that if you explode a nuke, even if it doesn't kill anybody, we will hit all your targets (positions) in Ukraine with conventional weapons, we'll destroy all of them," Sikorski told the Guardian.

Sikorski added that both China and India have warned Russia not to use nuclear weapons.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has repeatedly made nuclear threats against Ukraine and the West since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.

Though the threats have failed to materialize, and Russia continues to wage its all-out war without using its nuclear arsenal, Russian rhetoric and nuclear drills have both increased in recent weeks.

Russia and Belarus began the second stage of tactical weapons nuclear drills last month, amid escalating tensions between Moscow and the West.

"The situation on the European continent is quite tense, which is provoked every day by new decisions and actions of European capitals hostile to Russia, and above all by Washington," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in comments reported by Reuters.

In May, Russia said the exercises were a response to what it described as "provocative statements and threats by certain Western officials against the Russian Federation."

The United States may have to increase its deployment of strategic nuclear weapons amid growing threats from China, Russia, and other adversaries, a White House official said on June 7.

Polish FM says US will strike Russian troops in Ukraine if Russia uses nuclear weapons
“The Americans have told the Russians that if you explode a nuke, even if it doesn’t kill anybody, we will hit all your targets (positions) in Ukraine with conventional weapons, we’ll destroy all of them,” Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told the Guardian.

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