Tactical nuclear weapons: a dilemma in the Ukraine-Russia conflict

The war between Ukraine and Russia has become a battleground of nuclear tension between Russia and NATO. With the New Beginning Treaty suspended by Russia, it seems the era of strategic arms control is over. Meanwhile, Russia has deployed nuclear weapons in Belarus and has been training Belarusian pilots on how to use them.

Russian authorities have complained about the supply of depleted uranium ammunition from the UK to Ukraine for its Challenger 2 tanks. According to them, this would turn Ukraine into a “radioactive dumping ground.”

Ukraine in danger

Nuclear tensions between Ukraine and Russia are rising due to the impending Ukrainian offensive. It is feared that Russia may use the “escalate to de-escalate” strategy and deploy tactical nuclear weapons to stop an overwhelming conventional attack. This raises questions about the permissibility of the use of these weapons under the Law of Armed Conflict.

A weapon of mass destruction

The destruction caused by nuclear weapons is difficult to comprehend. Nukemap provides a simulation of this ability. Throughout history, only one person has approved its use: to destroy two Japanese cities and kill thousands of people to force Japan to surrender in World War II.

The weapons would later serve as a deterrent against a Soviet invasion of Western Europe, where conventional Warsaw Pact forces outnumbered those of NATO. Tactical nuclear weapons, designed with smaller ranges and warheads, would play an important role in this deterrence.

An uncertain future

The use of tactical nuclear weapons in the Ukraine-Russia war could have serious international security and stability consequences. As the situation becomes increasingly tense, it is crucial that diplomatic solutions be sought to prevent an escalation of violence and the use of tactical nuclear weapons.


In short, the nuclear tensions between Russia and NATO in the midst of the Ukraine-Russia war are alarming. Russia’s unilateral suspension of the New Beginning Treaty has put strategic arms control on hold.

The possibility of deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Ukraine-Russia war must be carefully examined to avoid an escalation of violence. The solution must be intense diplomacy to solve the conflict peacefully.