Russia 'won't be able to push back into Donbass' says Cross
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Retired Major General Tim Cross warned a successful counter-offensive by Ukrainian forces in the area “can change the dynamic in the weapons system” and could force Russia to use nuclear weapons. He explained if Ukraine manages to get back control over those territories once Russia has officially laid claim to them, Vladimir Putin will feel as if they have been “invaded by Ukrainians”. Referring to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the threat it poses amid nuclear contamination fears, he forecasted that Russian forces will use the plant as a means to “keep the pressure on Ukraine”.
Mr Cross told Times Radio: “If then the Ukrainians conduct defensive operations and more back into those territories, we may or may not agree with it, that doesn’t matter as far as the Russians are concerned they are now having Russian territory invaded by the Ukrainians.
“That can change the dynamic quite subsequently in the weapons systems they’re prepared to use, including potentially tactic nuclear weapons.
“In Russian military doctrine, they are prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons.
“They would want to push back, but I don’t think they are capable of it as they’re still conducting defensive operations essentially across Ukraine.
“They are, of course, putting in an offensive around the Kherson area which may or may not be successful and is not unimportant, not just militarily but politically.
“But I don’t think they’re going to be able to push back into the Donbas region.
“The important bit about the Donbas is if Russia formally annexed these two areas or the area around the Donbas, then of course in Russian eyes they become Russian territory.
He also warned about the potential consequences of mismanagement of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by Russian invaders could have severe consequences.
He warned: “There’s a lot of things that can happen, they can take on the nuclear core, they can take on the nuclear waste that is stored there, take on the infrastructure which could cut off the water cooling system for the nuclear plant.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt, I don’t think the Russians want to cause this thing to blow up.
“But I do think they want to keep the pressure on Ukraine in a number of different ways.
“When you conduct warfare, what you’re always trying to do is get the enemy to think through different issues, hit them hard in various different ways, create chaos and uncertainty and keep the pressure up.
“This is part of that process, along with the offensive in the Donbas and other areas”.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear reactor in Europe.
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On Saturday, Russian forces allegedly launched a missile attack at the nuclear plant sparking fears over nuclear contamination.
Acceding to Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom, Russian missiles have damaged three radiation monitors at the plant’s storage facility for spent nuclear fuels.
Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi condemned the attack and warned about the “very real risk of a nuclear disaster”.
In a statement, he said: “I’m extremely concerned by the shelling yesterday at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond”.
In the wake of the high nuclear risk assessed by IAEA, the UN has called for international nuclear experts to be given asses to the nuclear plant to further assess the situation concerning the damaged reactors.
Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for the attack, and Russia’s Ministry of Defence blamed Ukrainian forces for the three artillery strikes which hit the areas around the plant.
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