Biden worried that Putin 'doesn't have a way out' of Ukraine

Joe Biden
(Image credit: Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)

President Biden said Monday that Russian President Vladimir Putin "doesn't have a way out" of the war in Ukraine and that he's "trying to figure out what we do about that," according to USA Today.

Speaking at a political fundraiser near Washington, D.C., Biden said Putin launched the invasion believing Russian troops would achieve a swift victory that would fracture NATO and the European Union, Reuters reported.

Instead, Russian forces were driven back from Ukraine's capital and suffered heavy losses. Even in eastern Ukraine, Russia's limited territorial gains have been dearly bought.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Last month, Bloomberg reported that Kremlin insiders had begun surreptitiously expressing concerns about the possibility of Putin ordering a nuclear strike against Ukraine to achieve his war goals.

Russia has a large stockpile of relatively small-yield tactical nuclear weapons and a military doctrine that justifies using them if its conventional forces come up short. Writing for Global Security Review, Joshua Ball explained that "if Russia were subjected to a major non-nuclear assault that exceeded its capacity for conventional defense, it would 'de-escalate' the conflict by launching a limited — or tactical — nuclear strike."

It might go something like this, per Ball: after a few more months of quagmire, Putin orders a tactical nuclear barrage to blast holes in Ukraine's battlelines. At the same time, he sends a message to NATO: "Look, neither of us wants a strategic nuclear exchange. Withdraw your support for Ukraine, and this can all be over. Your move, Biden."

To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us