The nuclear bomb threats made by those close to Russian President Vladimir Putin to the West and Kiev since the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine may be empty. A key reason, according to a former member of the Russian parliament, Ilya Ponomarev, is the precious alliance between Russia and China. Ponomarev thinks that Putin might avoid using nuclear weapons so as not to jeopardize the alliance with China.
Ponomarev told the Daily Express that the use of nuclear weapons would bring many disadvantages for Putin and could provoke a sharp reaction from the West. More critically, such a deployment could cause a rupture with China, Russia’s most valuable ally in the current geopolitical situation. The Daily Express underscores the rapprochement between Moscow and Beijing just before the Ukraine invasion, with China speaking of a “borderless partnership” with Russia.
Putin is increasingly seeking China’s proximity
In fact, Russia, driven in particular by the sanctions imposed by the West, increasingly sought proximity to the Chinese market. This is reflected in the trade figures: In the first quarter of 2023, an impressive 39 percent year-on-year trade growth was recorded between the two nations, as reported by the Daily Express. President Xi Jinping in March stressed the strength and resilience of bilateral ties, noting that both countries support each other in their respective development ambitions.