Intel chief: Russia nuclear weapon use in Ukraine militarily irrational
The likelihood of Russian forces using nuclear weapons in the course of their occupation of Ukraine is small, despite a planned annual exercise by the Russian military which rehearses for nuclear conflict, chief of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) defense intelligence center Colonel Margo Grosberg said Friday.
Using tactical or any other nuclear weapons would not be militarily reasonable at present, Col. Grosberg added.
Appearing at a press conference Friday, Col. Grosberg said: "I stress that in military terms, the use of this type of a weapon is not reasonable in any way, it would not achieve an effect."
Nonetheless, on past form a Russian military exercise involving strategic nuclear weapons units usually takes place at this time of year, often dubbed "Grom" ("Thunder").
This means that: "The nuclear threat must be kept in mind, but it is not very large in my opinion," Grosberg said.
Battles for Kherson will be bloody and incur heavy losses
On more pressing events, developments on the Kherson front in southwestern Ukraine in the past week have been "remarkable", Grosberg said, though Ukrainian liberators attempts to take the city of Kherson can only be successful via costly battles, as was the case with the Russian assault on Mariupol and the Battle of Sievierodonetsk in July.
Kherson is: "Right in the middle of the region where these so-called referenda took place. This is such an important location that any battles that are going to take place around Kherson will will be tough and heavy on casualties," Grosberg said, adding that it is hard to predict when Ukrainian troops could reach Kherson
So far, Ukrainian units have been able very skillfully to find holes in Russian defensive lines of the Russian troops, pierce them and quickly advance along the banks of the Dnieper River, to reach the strategically important Kahhovka dam, about 20km away from Kherson Grosberg said. .
While a period of consolidation has followed, this does not mean that new Ukrainian offensives have been abandoned, while Russian units are retreating and erecting defense facilities near the dam.
Progress in this region will dictate how soon Ukrainian forces might reach Kherson, Grosberg said.
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Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming