OPINION; Russia and Ukraine: Are We Heading to Nuclear War?

Russian tanks were seen entering Ukraine

By International Affairs Editor, Eleanor Fletcher

With Russia officially sending troops into Ukraine the world has been put on edge. Nations such as the United States, United Kingdom, and France have condemned President Putin’s actions with many putting economic sanctions in place. The real question is does this mean we are heading for World War III?

Whilst it is understandable that people are nervous about the current international climate it can be argued that this is just a ‘Second Cold War’. Many academics are arguing that the Cold War never ended, and we have just been in a long period of détente since 1989. This means that whilst things have heated up, it is ultimately doubtful it will cumulate in a nuclear war.

Furthermore, whilst there are real fears, and it is likely there will be a high loss of life on both sides it is unlikely that leaders on either side will want to be the ones that used nuclear weapons first. Additionally, with China condemning President Putin’s actions, although there was no use of the term ‘invasion’, Russia seems to have no allies; thus making it seem that if NATO and its allies can secure Ukraine and push Russia back a wide-scale war is improbable.

Protetsts against Russia’s invasion and Vladimir Putin have been ongoing

This links with the fact that other options will be explored. There is still a chance for peaceful negotiations. It has not been made fully clear what Putin’s aims are and there is a chance this invasion has very little to do with wanting to dominate Europe and that there is likely an ulterior motive. This is possible due to the fact Putin feels he has been ignored for too long and Russia’s move into the Crimea in 2014 was Putin’s first attempt at being noticed but due to the fact he was allowed to cease control of Crimea he has made choices that the international community simply cannot ignore.

Overall, whilst Russia’s actions in Ukraine are inexcusable and the likelihood of armed conflict between Russia and NATO is high it is doubtful events will spiral into full nuclear war.

Published by The Gown Queen's University Belfast

The Gown has provided respected, quality and independent student journalism from Queen's University, Belfast since its 1955 foundation, by Dr. Richard Herman. Having had an illustrious line of journalists and writers for almost 70 years, that proud history is extremely important to us. The Gown is consistent in its quest to seek and develop the talents of aspiring student writers.

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