Putin has repeatedly issued thinly-veiled threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine


  • 29% of Russians surveyed by a think tank said Russia's possible use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine is justified
  • Putin last month announced that he would station nuclear weapons in Belarus
  • The U.S. previously said Russia is unlikely to use nuclear arms in the war in Ukraine

Nearly a third of Russians believe that President Vladimir Putin would soon launch a nuclear attack on Ukraine amid the war, according to a survey.

At least 29% of Russians who were surveyed by the Levada Center think tank said they believe Russia's possible use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine is "justified." In contrast, 56% of Russians said the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine is not justified, The New Voice Of Ukraine reported.

In addition, the survey also asked Russian respondents whether they believe Putin is now ready to launch a nuclear strike in Ukraine. At least 9% said "definitely yes," 20% said "rather yes," 32% said "rather no" and 28% said "definitely no."

The survey was conducted on April 20 to 26. It is unclear how many respondents were involved in the poll.

The survey comes a month after Putin announced he would station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus but noted that Moscow will not be transferring control of the armaments over to Minsk. It is the first time Russia would base its nuclear weapons outside of the country since the Soviet Union's collapse in the 1990s.

Following Putin's announcement, Avril Haines — Director of the U.S. National Intelligence — said Russia is very unlikely to use its nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine despite repeated threats from Putin.

"It's very unlikely, is our current assessment," she told the Senate Armed Service Committee in early May.

It is important to note that U.S. officials have, for months, said they do not see evidence suggesting Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons in the war.

The survey also comes as Ukraine makes gains in the embattled city of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, retaking 10 Russian positions in the northern and southern outskirts of the town and ending a stalemate that has lasted over the past months.

As of Monday, Russia lost a total of 199,460 soldiers in the war, including 580 killed over the past day. Moscow has also lost 3,759 tanks, 7336 armored personnel vehicles, 3,137 artillery systems, 2,720 UAVs, and 6,034 vehicles and fuel tanks, according to estimates from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.

The military stalemate in Ukraine has heightened fears Russia might resort to using its nuclear arsenal