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US prepared for Russia's nuclear strike on Ukraine in late 2022

US prepared for Russia's nuclear strike on Ukraine in late 2022 US prepared for Russia's nuclear strike on Ukraine (photo: Getty Images)

In late 2022, the United States began preparing for the possibility that Russia might launch a nuclear strike against Ukraine. The US administration's fears were based on some intelligence information, states CNN.

"We had to plan so that we were in the best possible position in case this no‑longer unthinkable event actually took place," a senior US administration official told CNN.

According to another US official, from late summer to fall 2022, the US National Security Council convened a series of meetings to develop contingency plans, including for either very clear signs of a nuclear strike in the making or an actual strike.

"How we would respond, how we would try to preempt it, or deter it," the official explained.

The United States believed that the loss of Kherson could provoke Russia to a nuclear strike on Ukraine, as Moscow could see it as an "existential threat," the unnamed American official said. A nuclear strike could also be seen by the Kremlin as a tool to deter Ukraine from further liberation of territories or a potential attack on Russia.

At the time, Russian propaganda was actively spreading a fake news story about a "dirty bomb" that Ukraine was allegedly planning to detonate in order to blame Russia. Later, Western intelligence learned that Russian officials were discussing a nuclear strike. However, the United States did not record any preparations by Russian nuclear forces for a strike, although Washington was not sure that it would be able to learn about the movement of tactical weapons in Russia, as they are difficult to track.

Against the backdrop of the threat, the United States worked with its allies to develop response plans and used them to send Russia a warning of the consequences. Washington also tried to enlist the support of India and China.

Today, according to CNN, US officials believe that the risk of a nuclear strike has decreased.

Last year, speaking at the United Nations, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for the disarmament of Russia, as terrorists have no right to possess nuclear weapons.

In addition, Russia has moved its nuclear weapons to Belarus. However, self-proclaimed President Alexander Lukashenko will not be able to use them on his own.