I am one of the very few people who is in a position to remember hearing the news of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima on August 6th 1945. I realised immediately how wicked it was and have ever since completely opposed any military strategy based on the threat of the use of such weapons and have had no time whatsoever for any politicians who claims they would press the nuclear button

I have no doubt that nuclear weapons will be used again - and it is only a matter of time.

I never thought that even during the Cuban missile crisis there was any real danger of their being actually used. Now for the first time I do.

Although the present war is technically between Russia and Ukraine, with Russia the aggressor, there has been recently a change in the character of the war. Military help to Ukraine from Western and NATO powers, (including of course the UK) under the leadership of the US is now so extensive that the war is rapidly becoming a world war between the West and Russia

The aim of the West, increasingly becoming explicit as in Liz Truss’s speech the other day, is not merely to clear Russia out of the Ukrainian territory it has occupied, but to ensure its utter defeat, its disarmament, its punishment for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, and to force it to pay reparations. It is to be treated as Germany was after both world wars.

But Russia has strategic nuclear weapons and rather than face utter defeat and humiliation (which the US alone has the military might to bring about) it will threaten to use them (indeed Putin has already hinted as much). Putin could argue that though the World Court has ruled that the use of nuclear weapons is illegal, there was one exception on which it refused to rule: if a state was faced with annihilation

Putin may have also calculated that since his forces are under unitary command if he authorised the use of nuclear weapons the West might not retaliate since its members would have to confer.

Who knows? He might even persuade himself that he could even win the war.

Malcolm Pittock