Putin’s nuclear blackmail will vanish after clear signals from Washington – Valery Chaly

Now the world faces a resolution in the confrontation between the democratic and authoritarian worlds. And, unfortunately, it is taking place in Ukraine. The climax will be in 2023.

Valery Chaly, Chairman of the Board of Ukraine Crisis Media Center, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine, spoke about this on the Priamyi TV channel.

The diplomat emphasized that after clear signals from Washington, the “nuclear rhetoric” will gradually vanish from the mouth of Putin the aggressor, because he was given a clear message – he would receive a response that would be catastrophic for the Russian Federation.

Valery Chaly also shared his opinion on the reasons for the European partners’ hesitation about supplying offensive weapons, and also talked about the impact of sanctions on Russia and the change in China’s position.

The threats of conventional war are much greater than nuclear blackmail

– Russia’s threats, nuclear blackmail are not for us. This is Washington, Paris, Berlin. That’s where the signals are directed.

Moreover, I can tell you that after Putin threatened with nuclear weapons, when he declared that “this is not a bluff”, a lot of things happened. Quite a lot. And believe me, I have an expectation that such statements will further decrease. Moreover, I am not even sure whether in the coming days Putin will come out with a statement about the so-called annexation of the occupied territories, where they organized pseudo-referendums. I am not sure whether they will announce the “nuclear doctrine” again. Because the meeting of the Security Council, which took place the day before, clearly showed the trends of changes in the position of China, India, and Brazil, which was not the case before. Now Russia’s representative at the meeting found himself in isolation, which was not the case before. 

So I think we will see a decrease in Russia’s “nuclear” rhetoric. Because they did it unceremoniously, as they usually do. And Putin likes such actions, especially when he is in an emotionally excited state. After Samarkand, after all these meetings, when he was mocked, he came back very offended. When he was told to stop the war at the level of the prime minister of India and China, and for him to stop is to give up everything. And that’s bad news, let’s be honest. It’s not the nuclear blackmail that worries me, but the fact that Putin will succeed in preventing the supply of tanks and planes to us. This is really important. Because this is the lives of our soldiers. Therefore, we have much greater threats of a purely conventional war than nuclear blackmail.

The probability of using high-power nuclear ballistic missiles is now at a very low level. I would say it is close to zero. People should understand this. There is a probability of using weapons of mass destruction, but not so high. And in any case, we will know it. They can’t do it secretly. I think we can expect some kind of demonstration of force by Russia on its training ground, a test. But it is definitely not a threat directly for today, tomorrow, this week or month. There is no evidence that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons. 

According to Chaly, Washington gave Moscow clear signals regarding the nuclear threat: nuclear threats are unacceptable, and if Russia uses nuclear weapons, “the response will be a disaster for them.”

Hodges’ predictions on Crimea are the military’s position, which is far ahead of the official US position

The former commander of the US Army in Europe, General Ben Hodges, recently predicted that by the middle of next year, the Armed Forces of Ukraine would enter the occupied Crimea. Valery Chaly emphasized that those forecasts should be seriously heeded, because this is the opinion of a very experienced military man. But it should be remembered that Hodges is not an active military man, and this is only the opinion of a military man, which is always far ahead of US political moves.

– I pay attention to Hodges’ predictions. […] They are really worth listening to, because he has a lot of experience. But there is one but – they are not acting generals today. Therefore, these are only their predictions. The only thing we can definitely agree on is that, after Putin raised the stakes and took a lot of absolutely senseless steps, Ukraine has no choice but to de-occupy all territories at once.

Remember, there was a conversation on Crimea before, maybe there will be an agreement somewhere at the political level. We no longer have such a choice. We have to go to the borders of Ukraine. And I support Hodges in this. And when it happens, how it will happen – it does not depend on us. More precisely, we can contribute to this, but the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the country’s political leadership decide this issue.

This is rather the position and opinion of the U.S. military. The position of the military is somewhat different from the intelligence community, different from the State Department, different from the White House. The military supported the provision of lethal weapons to Ukraine before, they were the most active. So we can say that their position is ahead of the overall situation. Because there are political scientists, advisers who advise the White House somewhat differently. And they are not military, but they also have influence. Therefore, in principle, it is necessary to listen to everyone, to different opinions, but it is better to look at the official position, at the position of the Congress, where support for Ukraine is now growing on the eve of the midterm elections. Now, one might even say, there is a competition between Republicans and Democrats as to how much they help Ukraine. This is very good. But it won’t last forever.

On the critical importance of supplying offensive weapons

According to Chaly, offensive weapons (tanks, aircraft – ed) are not given to Ukraine purely for political reasons.

– After Putin’s nuclear threats, there are no longer any explanations why they cannot provide us with tanks: American Abrams and German Leopard tanks. I know that our military and the Minister of Defense are constantly insisting on the provision of tanks and aircraft. But Western politicians are trying to explain something to us again …

I know that our military and the Minister of Defense are constantly insisting on the provision of tanks and aircraft. But Western politicians are trying to explain something to us again …

If these partially mobilized persons, no matter how many, dig in, climb into these trenches, then, of course, it will be very difficult to de-occupy the territories without offensive weapons in the near future.

Therefore, these political explanations of our partners, especially in Europe, cannot withstand any criticism at all. They have been wrong so many times. The Americans, thank God, and the British do not stop. Now – a new aid package worth more than a billion dollars. We will hear about it literally tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. But Germany …  It has provided Gepard tanks to us and is taking a step back again. Germany is a key country in Europe, the most powerful, the fifth arms exporter in the world. Do you want us, Ukrainians, who are fighting, our people to die, and you to sit out there and to “shelter good Russians” (2 million in Berlin alone)? Do you think we’ll cover you forever? It won’t be like that. You have to do your part. You have the opportunity to do it now – to give us tanks.

When Scholz says: let someone else provide tanks, and I will give them later, he is a weakling. So, he is not a political leader. And this is the problem of today’s world. There are no such powerful political leaders in Europe. In the situation of war, which is waged on the European continent, we see such weak politicians. Terrible, disaster. Against this background, Ukrainian politicians are simply world leaders. Because it is a very pitiful background, to be honest. I did not expect this from Europe. By the way, Putin has always said that Europe is weak, Europe cannot withstand such threats. This has always been his position.

I call Germany like that, because it is a leading country, it is our partner. We count on them. It helps us by supplying weapons. But this is not enough to put an end to this blackmail in Europe. They are waiting for something, they leave Putin a way out. He has already used almost everything in threatening them, and they are still playing this game. There is no game. There is only strength to strength. That’s all.

About the reasons for European indecisiveness

– I will mention three basic reasons. The first thing in this situation is big political corruption. Schröder has long been in everyone’s hearing; he already has this image, even the Germans themselves are closing all opportunities to him, because they understand that what he is doing after receiving the post and the money of Gazprom, the money of the Kremlin, is extremely scurrilous. And there are a lot of such corrupt politicians in Germany. Because they all are tied with each other there where Putin used to work in the GDR: the Stasi, the KGB. And there are still so many people bound by this money who went into politics. That is, there is serious corruption of a large part of the German political elite, which they are currently purging. In fact, they are trying to overcome this.

The second reason is Germany’s competition with Britain for leadership in Europe. This is a historic competition. Although they both were in the EU before, and are in NATO, the competition remains. Therefore, this competition, I think, will push Germany to take more decisive actions.

And the third reason that should not be disregarded is the distance. After all, they are far removed from russia. And they profited from it for a very long time. That is, without having any immediate threats, they had very serious profits from cheap Russian energy carriers, which they then converted for the benefit of their people. You buy cheap gas, then, conditionally, you sell products to the Chinese, and you live wonderfully, and you don’t think about anything. This is how businesses are used to working. That is why Germany feels very good economically.

They have become so closely connected with russia that now it is very difficult to break free from it. And Putin knows about it. This is money, these are real profits of big business.

The situation with Britain is developing much better now. Britain is acting more decisively. And, actually, we have seen Italy. Everyone was worried about the fact that the new government is right-wing, which is true. To say nothing about Berlusconi who rubbed shoulders with putin. However, political statements are nothing like that. Now they declare support for Ukraine, for the first time.

Therefore, in principle, the situation should be kept under control. Our positions should be lobbied. And I know that there are a lot of the same Germans, Italians, and French who offer their governments another solution – to put an end to this russian blackmail. Therefore, I am sure that they value the Euro-Atlantic ties with the USA and Great Britain. And I am sure that they, as members of NATO and the EU, will act as a united front in this regard.

Sanctions are in force, but many more are needed

– Sanctions have finally begun to work. I think July-August is the beginning. Now their effect will be greatly enhanced. That is, russia has come to a situation where they cannot ignore the presence of sanctions. They are even discussing it publicly. Even though putin was preparing for war and made some monetary reserves, these reserves are very quickly spent. And in the spring, until the summer, they will have a very difficult situation with unemployment, they will have a lot of challenges.

Businesses are leaving; they have picked the pocket of the FSB-oligarchic alliance system, where the business has agreed to be a junior partner. Where permitted. Those who have not agreed to such a scheme are in prison or thrown out of the country, like Khodorkovsky, Nevzlin and others. And now they want to get into the pocket of those who have agreed to it. It is their turn. In the near future, we will see cases of accidental falls of the heads of large russian companies from balconies. Went out to the balcony to smoke and fell. Because “either you pay for the war, or we simply won’t let you leave; that’s it, your train has already gone. We are really all on this Titanic together.” That’s how they talk to business now. 

Therefore, I think that sanctions are necessary. I just don’t understand the logic of preventive sanctions. So if you take a step, we will introduce a package. Now there are no more warnings. Who to warn? A terrorist, a nuclear blackmailer? But still, a strange logic continues: Russia will do something else, and then we will do something. This logic must be changed immediately. 

Sanctions should be imposed as much as possible – those that you are ready for today. I can admit that it is more difficult for some countries to stop this dependence on gas quickly. Do what you are ready for today and do it as soon as possible. Because if you don’t, then you’ll get even bigger consequences.

And one more point. If you say: ordinary people should not suffer, then ordinary people, “good Russians” have already been skipped the country, sorry for the slang. Now 100,000 have entered Kazakhstan in three days. A large flow of them come to Georgia. Millions have already left. That’s all. Sanctions should be imposed as maximum as they are collectively ready for. Just prepare the sanctions all together and impose them. But it should be to the maximum. There are many more possibilities.

China and the USA. The resolution of the confrontation between the democratic and authoritarian worlds, unfortunately, takes place on our territory

– The position of China, frankly speaking, from the very beginning could not please us. They claimed that they were somehow neutral. In fact, they played this position in favor of Russia. And the basis for this is competition with the United States, anti-Americanism. This is not our issue, let’s say, but this is China’s position. It is cynical because China, which is the second economy in the world and claims to compete with the USA, for leadership, has no right, as a nuclear power, to simply observe. And they really tried to keep this pause for a long time. But that’s all now. The China representative’s statement at the Security Council was very revealing. Not a word about NATO, anti-Americanism – what they always said in sync with Russia – they didn’t say now. They said three things. Territorial integrity of Ukraine. The fastest possible completion. And the third thing, which really bothered them, is nuclear saber-rattling. Because they understand that they are not yet that powerful in terms of possessing warheads, but if, God forbid, putin demonstrates or uses something, then all the capabilities of China will be negated. Because, first of all, not only India and Pakistan will then receive warheads, but also the countries around China will start thinking about the same thing. Therefore, a development of events proposed by putin is not profitable for them. But a devastating defeat of putin is not profitable for them either.

But the reality is that the West and the USA are actually leaving a huge open window for putin to take a step back. He can stop the war at any time. Everyone says: putin will be in The Hague immediately. To be honest, he can sit in his palace, where he has six strippers and slot machines. Russia is big, he can hide. He will definitely not remain at the head of this group. Akela has delayed his shot, and we will no longer keep our crime lord. But this does not mean that it will be possible to drag him somewhere in The Hague right away. Although, if he goes further, then this scenario becomes more and more realistic.

Now the development of events in China is very important. If China and the U.S. find points of interaction, the situation will fundamentally change. Today, China is critically dependent on the U.S. for its well-being, because exports to the U.S. are 630 billion, 14% of Russia’s in China, and the U.S. actually dictates this entire market for China. That is, there are levers of influence.

I think, the denouement of the confrontation between the democratic and authoritarian worlds, which, unfortunately, is taking place on our territory, will definitely come next year. Putin accelerates it …