Putin's deadliest weapon yet has been revealed – and the West has no answer

According to US intelligence, Russia wants to put a nuclear weapon into space. Such a weapons system, they believe, could be used to target Western satellites in orbit, knocking out communications and military targeting systems.  These weapons would be utterly devastating if they were ever used.

Axiomatically, it makes a lot of sense to use nuclear weapons in space: the result of doing so is far more predictable than on land, where geography and the elements can make their deployment tricky. The outcome is also more calculable: given we are so reliant on satellites to communicate, move, and work, we would all feel the impact.

It’s for this reason the world has long agreed not to put such weapons in the ‘heavens’. But we know the tyrant Putin is no respecter of the rule book and international law. The development of so-called ‘Wunderwaffe’ – “wonder weapons” – is one of Putin’s obsessions. The fact this information is coming from US intelligence sources, not Putin’s usual idle boasts, suggest they at least have a grain of truth about them, though, and should be taken seriously. Very seriously.

Whenever Putin feels threatened or wants to frighten a timid West, he always wants to look ready to reach for his nuclear trump card. More Left-leaning Western and Nato countries buy into his bully boy tactics, causing great damage to weapons deliveries for Ukraine. Remember the deadly weapon he announced when he started the war in Ukraine, called Satan II? Absurd, yes. But effective.

Yet often Russia’s technological revelations do not live up to the hype. As we saw recently, his cutting-edge tanks – the “indestructible” T90s – are being shot to pieces by light infantry vehicles. The mismatch should be the other way round. But so fixated are the Russians on firepower versus protecting their soldiers that Russian tanks have become among the most combustible in history.

This is good for Ukraine on the battlefield, but also signals that Putin has no regard for human life and will stop at nothing if he believes it will achieve his aims. The West must, therefore, continue to show it has the will to prevent Putin achieve his ‘greater Russia’. Strength is the only thing which will move the tyrant off his pillage of terror and destruction, not appeasement.

Putin is, as I say, no fool. Look at how successful nukes have been in spooking the West, frequently in holding back weapons for Ukraine, despite not even the slightest hint of weapons launchers moved into range. Putin tends to develop these fanciful ideas when things are bad, or he needs to flex his muscles. Perhaps we wanted to announce their usage before the ‘election’ (I use the term loosely) in March.

The West’s failures got us here, where we are now staring down Putin’s ethereal nuclear gun. We had a golden opportunity to defeat Putin in Ukraine, but we were cowardly and are now paying the price as he expands his arsenal. It’s time to get serious. Probably only the US can turn the tide by signing off the much-needed military and financial support to Ukraine. The EU, too, is in the phalanx of this battle and must throw everything at the defence of Europe and ensure the Russians are pushed back whence they came.

At the same time, Britain – with its beleaguered army – must regroup, reinvest and develop a force of sufficient mass to be able to join this battle if it comes to it. If we get this ‘wrong’, everything else vexing us now will soon be horrifically irrelevant.

Whoever you vote for this year, vote for the person and party that will stop Putin.

Colonel (Retd) Hamish de Bretton-Gordon OBE is a former commander of UK & NATO CBRN Forces

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