Russian and U.S. state flags fly near a factory in Vsevolozhsk


  • Political analyst Joe Siracusa believes Vladimir Putin is "very seriously" considering using nuclear weapons
  • Siracusa said the U.S.' response to Russia would "put us right at the doorstep of World War III"
  • Around 56% of Russians believe using nuclear weapons against Ukraine is unjustified, according to a poll

A political analyst fears that a U.S. response to Russia's possible use of tactical nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine could lead to World War III.

In an interview with Sky News Australia, Joe Siracusa, a political analyst and professor at Curtin University, said he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is "very seriously considering his options" in his invasion of Ukraine, including the possibility of using "a tactical nuclear weapon."

"I heard in Europe last week what would be the American response if President Putin actually used tactical nuclear weapons," Siracusa said.

"The word I heard was that the Pentagon has informed the Kremlin through backchannels that the United States would respond with a massive conventional attack on Crimea and the Russian Black Fleet, which would, of course, put us right at the doorstep of World War III," Siracusa added.

Earlier this month, two Russian politicians urged the Kremlin to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine in retaliation for an alleged drone strike targeting Putin's official residence and the looming major Ukrainian counteroffensive.

In a statement on his Telegram account, speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, the head of the Russian State Duma, demanded "the use of weapons that can stop and destroy" Kyiv, hinting at the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

Dmitry Rogozin, the former director-general of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, also urged Putin to use nuclear weapons to avoid a significant number of casualties in a potential Ukrainian counteroffensive.

"According to our [nuclear] doctrine we have the right to use tactical nuclear weapons because that's what they exist for," Rogozin said, The Moscow Times reported.

Rogozin added that nuclear weapons are a "great equalizer for the moments when there is a clear discrepancy in the enemy's favor."

However, 56% of the Russian population does not believe using nuclear weapons against Ukraine is justified, according to a survey conducted by the Levada Center.

Only 29% of Russians believe that the hypothetical use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war is justified, while 15% said they are undecided.

Moreover, about 60% of Russians do not believe the Kremlin is ready to use nuclear weapons in the Ukrainian conflict.

The U.S., Ukraine's biggest donor of military assistance, also does not believe Russia would use its nuclear weapons in the conflict.

In a hearing called by the Senate Armed Services Committee, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines said that based on their "current assessment," it is "very unlikely" that Russia would use nuclear weapons, according to Reuters.

In February, Putin announced the suspension of Russia's participation in the New START treaty, its nuclear arms pact with the U.S., which limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads each side can deploy.

Putin has issued thinly veiled warnings that Russia could use nuclear weapons if threatened