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Russia’s nuclear saber-rattling like ‘cocking a gun in an old western movie’

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Abby Kozlowski

Russia announced that it will conduct exercises simulating the use of nuclear battlefield weapons in response to statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron and U.K. Foreign Secretary David Cameron, suggesting the potential for increased engagement in Ukraine.

David Silbey

Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy

David Silbey is an associate professor of history at Cornell University specializing in military history, defense policy and battlefield analysis.

Silbey says:

“Putin is reminding people that Russia has nuclear weapons and they should think very carefully before getting directly involved in the war in Ukraine. It doesn’t mean he’s about to use them, just that the weapons exist and are ready to go. Think of it as cocking a gun in an old western movie – you’re not using it yet, but everyone’s aware that you’ve got it.”

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