Trump national security adviser John Bolton on Monday said the threat of nuclear war with Russia is “a lot closer” than before.
“Where we are now after this Ukraine success in the north is not that point,” Bolton said on WABC radio’s “Cats at Night” when asked whether Russian President Vladimir Putin might approve the use of nuclear weapons.
“But it is a lot closer to it than we’ve been before,” he added.
Bolton, who served under former President Trump in 2018 and 2019, said that he has “always” predicted that Putin would not use nukes unless Ukrainian troops became successful enough to cross the Russian border.
“The potential risk of the use of a nuclear weapon is not so much to change the battlefield but to strengthen Putin’s position at home,” he told host John Catsimatidis.
The Ukrainian military launched a massive counteroffensive last week against the Russian troops that invaded in February.
Ukraine pushed back on the Russian military in the north of the country after leading its opponent to believe for months that it would attack in the south.
Bolton described Putin’s current political position as “endangered,” claiming that the president is in “more trouble now than he’s been since the invasion.”
“We need to think about how to take advantage of that,” he added.
The former ambassador to the United Nations said that there is “no chance” of Russian surrender now that Ukraine has pushed back on the larger country’s troops.
“That would be a signal of weakness,” he said. “This defeat is significant enough that it will have political effects.”
Bolton praised Ukraine’s skill in the war, saying that the country deserves “great credit.”
As for Russia, Bolton said, “Just when you think the Russian military can’t perform any worse, they surprise you and perform worse.”