Russia regularly parades its nuclear-ready missile systems
Russia regularly parades its nuclear-ready missile systems AFP / Alexander NEMENOV


  • A former adviser to Vladimir Putin said using nuclear weapons is a difficult moral choice for Russia
  • Sergey Karaganov claimed the West would "back off" if Russia escalates its nuclear threats
  • Karaganov said he would launch a nuclear attack if he were in Putin's shoes

A former adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin has reiterated his belief that using nuclear weapons would prevent World War III from happening.

In an interview with Russian state media RT Saturday, professor Sergey Karaganov, the honorary chairman of Russia's Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, noted that the decision to use nuclear weapons would be a difficult moral choice for Russia, but he claimed it would save humanity from a potential extinction brought on by a full-blown nuclear war.

"The decision to use nuclear weapons is a terrible moral challenge, a terrible moral decision. Morally it will hurt us, or whoever will use it, but sometimes you have to choose," Karaganov said, according to Washington, D.C.-based MEMRI.

"The famous Dostoevsky dictum – will you sacrifice the child to save humanity... It's a philosophically terrible choice, but I decided to become unpopular by choosing to save humanity," the Russian political scientist said.

Karaganov said he believes the West, which he claims "is losing all strategic thinking," would "back off" if Russia decides to escalate its threats of using nuclear weapons.

When asked if Putin would use Russian tactical nuclear weapons against Europe, Karaganov said he hopes the Russian leader "won't have to do that."

But Karaganov added that if he were in Putin's shoes and had to choose whether or not to launch a nuclear attack, "I would do that, but I would be finished as a man."

In mid-June, Putin's former adviser published an article in the international publication Russia in Global Affairs, in which he suggested that an escalation of nuclear threats from Moscow would "save humanity."

Karaganov wrote that Western countries no longer fear Russia's nuclear weapons and "have unleashed a full-scale war" against Moscow.

Karaganov said the West "must know" that Russia is prepared to launch "a preemptive retaliatory strike" to counter alleged current and past aggression.

The world's largest nuclear power, Russia has hinted at the possibility of using nuclear weapons to defend its territory.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the country would only use its nuclear weapons for "defensive purposes."

Zakharova noted that Russia does not want a nuclear war, pointing out that "there can be no winners in it."

Meanwhile, two U.S. senators have filed a bipartisan resolution urging Washington and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to threaten Russia with war if it launches any nuclear attack on or destroys a nuclear facility in Ukraine.

The resolution, introduced by South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham and Connecticut Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, aims to consider any potential Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine as an attack against the transatlantic alliance.

Graham argued that radioactive materials from a potential Russian nuclear attack or destruction of a Ukrainian nuclear facility pose "significant harm" to the people living in NATO territory.

Russia's new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile recently test-launched from a nuclear submarine in Barents sea.
Russia's new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile recently test-launched from a nuclear submarine in Barents sea. Russian Defence Ministry / Handout