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Irregular Nuclear Warfare: Operating Top-of-the-Spectrum Means in the Gray Zone under the Threshold of Reaction. A Predictive Approach to the Ukrainian Battlefield

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Russia’s War on Ukraine

Part of the book series: Contributions to Political Science ((CPS))

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Abstract

Considering nuclear warfare through a contemporary war studies analysis does not lead to the same conclusion as strategic studies. Deterrence, avoidance, and equilibrium are indeed key concepts of a nuclear strategy in classical terms; however, contemporary war studies teach that nothing is impossible in an always-changing environment. Without trying to discredit or even contest strategic studies, contemporary war studies can bring a fresh, out-of-the-box approach to the plausibility of nuclear warfare in the twenty-first century. Mobilizing the Ukrainian battlefield—understood in the broadest sense by gathering all domains—seems particularly pertinent for several reasons. First, the Kremlin has waged war against Ukraine since 2014, revealing numerous innovative approaches to modern warfare’s means and concepts. Second, Moscow has never hesitated to increase the pressure on Kyiv, scaling up its mobilization to reach a strategic victory. Third, numerous occurrences have demonstrated that Russia’s leadership hinted at what they described as a legitimate use of their nuclear arsenal in Ukraine or against what it calls the “collective West”.

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Correspondence to Julien Théron .

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Théron, J. (2023). Irregular Nuclear Warfare: Operating Top-of-the-Spectrum Means in the Gray Zone under the Threshold of Reaction. A Predictive Approach to the Ukrainian Battlefield. In: Vicente, A., Sinovets, P., Theron, J. (eds) Russia’s War on Ukraine. Contributions to Political Science. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-32221-1_3

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