Ukraine War, October 3, 2022: Petraeus warns of NATO response to any use of a nuclear weapon; Movement of nuclear warheads toward Western front in Russia

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To see a list of previous articles, enter “Ukraine” in the Search Box on the upper right, on The Trenchant Observer web site, and you will see a list in chronological order.


1) Edward Helmore, “Petraeus: US would destroy Russia’s troops if Putin uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine; Former CIA director and retired army general says Moscow’s leader is ‘desperate’ and ‘battlefield reality he faces is irreversible,'” The Guardian, October 2, 2022 (14:56 EDT);

2) Bob Seely, “We are entering a terrifying new phase of the Russo-Ukraine war; The West will be Putin’s target in the coming months,” The Telegraph, October 2, 2022 (8:55 am).

Dr Robert Seely MP sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee. His doctorate is in integrated Russian warfare

3) Anne Applebaum, “Putin’s Newest Annexation Is Dire for Russia Too; His baldly illegitimate claim to four Ukrainian provinces shows contempt for the global order—and his own subjects,” The Atlantic, September 30, 2022;

4) Lluís Bassets, “Cada vez más cerca del disparo nuclear;; Nunca el mundo ha estado tan cerca del despeñadero atómico desde la crisis de los misiles en Cuba,” El País, el 28 devseptiembre 2022 (23:00 EDT);


Former CIA Director and Commander in both Iraq and Afghanistan General David Petraeus, allowing that he had not soken to U.S. National Security Director Jake Sullivan, detailed on Sunday potential U.S. and NATO responses to any use of a nuclear weapon by Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. He declared:

The US and its allies would destroy Russia’s troops and equipment in Ukraine – as well as sink its Black Sea fleet – if the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, uses nuclear weapons in the country, former CIA director and retired four-star army general David Petraeus warned on Sunday.

He told ABC News: “Just to give you a hypothetical, we would respond by leading a Nato – a collective – effort that would take out every Russian conventional force that we can see and identify on the battlefield in Ukraine and also in Crimea and every ship in the Black Sea.”

Edward Helmore of The Telegraph reports that Russia is sending a train controlled by the army unit that stores nuclear warheads from the East toward the Western Front. The Biden administration, wisely or unwisely has been saying haven’t seen any signs of Russia moving toward the deployment of nuclear weapons.

This report contradicts that narrative. In any event, the Biden administration should stop issuing this assurances, in view of the fact that our intelligences services may not be able to pickup the movement of small tactical nuclear weapons.

Helmore writes:

A Russian convoy transporting equipment for Russia’s nuclear weapons programme has sparked fears that Vladimir Putin could be preparing a test to send a “signal to the West”.

A train operated by the secretive nuclear division and linked to the 12th main directorate of the Russian ministry of defence was spotted in central Russia over the weekend heading towards the front line in Ukraine.

The pro-Russian Telegram channel Rybar shared the footage showing the large freight convoy hauling upgraded armoured personnel carriers and other equipment.

Konrad Muzyka, a defence analyst specialising in Ukraine, said the 12th directorate operated a dozen central storage facilities for nuclear weapons.

Putin appears to be trying to signal his deadly seriousness. Russia plans a test of its nuclear-capable Poseidon drone.

It comes as sources told The Times that Nato had sent an intelligence report to its members and allies alerting them to the fact that Russia is expected to test its nuclear-capable torpedo drone Poseidon, possibly in the Black Sea, which it controls.

The Poseidon torpedo, dubbed the “weapon of the apocalypse”, can be launched from the submarine. According to La Repubblica newspaper, it is about to be tested in the area of the Kara Sea, north of the Russian mainland.

It is unlikely that the Torpedo will be tested with a nuclear warhead, as an above-ground nuclear explosion would violate the 1963 Limited Test Ban Treaty to which Russia is a party, and also call forth responses from NATO such as those described by Petraeus.

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About the Author

James Rowles
"The Trenchant Observer" is edited and published by James Rowles (aka "The Observer"), an author and international lawyer who has taught International Law, Human Rights, and Comparative Law at major U.S. universities, including Harvard, Brandeis, the University of Pittsburgh, and the University of Kansas. Dr. Rowles is a former staff attorney at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States OAS), in Wasington, D.C., , where he was in charge of Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and the United States, and also worked on complaints from and reports on other countries including Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. As an international development expert, he has worked on Rule of Law, Human Rights, and Judicial Reform in a number of countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Russian Federation. In the private sector, Dr. Rowles has worked as an international attorney for a leading national law firm and major global companies, on joint ventures and other matters in a number of countries in Europe (including Russia and the Ukraine), throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Australia, Indonesia, Vietnam, China and Japan. The Trenchant Observer blog provides an unfiltered international perspective for news and opinion on current events, in their historical context, drawing on a daily review of leading German, French, Spanish and English newspapers as well as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and other American newspapers, and on sources in other countries relevant to issues being analyzed. Dr. Rowles speaks fluent English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish, and also knows other languages. He holds an S.J.D. or Doctor of Juridical Science in International Law from Harvard University, and a Doctor of Law (J.D.) and a Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.=LL.M.), from Stanford University. As an undergraduate, he received a Bachelor of Arts degree, also from Stanford, where he graduated “With Great Distinction” (summa cum laude) and received the James Birdsall Weter Prize for the best Senior Honors Thesis in History. In addition to having taught as a Lecturer on Law at Harvard Law School, Dr. Rowles has been a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University's Center for International Affairs (CFIA). His fellowships include a Stanford Postdoctoral Fellowship in Law and Development, the Rómulo Gallegos Fellowship in International Human Rights awarded by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and a Harvard MacArthur Fellowship in International Peace and Security. Beyond his articles in The Trenchant Observer, he is the author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on subjects of international and comparative law. Currently he is working on a manuscript drawing on some the best articles that have appeared in the blog.