Criticizing Putin: Warner boss Prigozhin said “We look like clowns”

The Wagner Group chief went on to state that “we look like clowns” when threatening to retaliate with nuclear weapons against “a children’s drone.”

Prigozhin was certainly correct when you said using nuclear weapons as retaliation against a drone strike was out of the question. But his comments juxtaposed with those of Volodin and Rogozin revealed the duality of Russia’s current leadership.

Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin may be making headlines for his proposed withdrawal from Bakhmut but he really should be in the news for comments he recently made ridiculing Russian threats of nuclear war in the wake of the Kremlin drone attack.

Russian threats of nuclear war intensified after a May 3rd drone attack on the Kremlin allegedly carried out by Ukraine prompted a fierce response from Moscow’s leadership.

An Iskander tactical nuclear missile. File photo.

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin blamed the strike on Volodymyr Zelensky and said that Ukraine’s Western backers were his “direct accomplices” in a Telegram post. 

“There can be no negotiations… We will be demanding the use of weapons that can stop and destroy the terrorist regime in Kyiv,” Volodin wrote according to a translation by The Moscow Times that clearly alluded to the use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine. 

Volodin wasn’t alone in his demand for the use of nuclear weapons and Russia’s former space chief Dmitry Rogozin said tactical nukes could be used to help equalize the fight. 

On one side there is a faction willing and ready to do whatever is necessary to end the war in Russia’s favor, and on the other, there are those who don’t see the use of nuclear weapons as a solution—it’s just surprising such measured words came from Prigozhin.

“First of all, it is necessary to figure out how this could happen in principle, and after that, make every effort to ensure that we become the leading power in the development of UAV technologies and respond with exactly the same drone,” Prigozhin added. 

The Moscow Times noted that Rogozin was worried about the threat posed by Ukraine’s counter-offensive and suggested a tactical nuke could be used to save Russian lives. 

“According to our [nuclear] doctrine, we have the right to use tactical nuclear weapons because that’s what they exist for,” Rogozin was quoted as saying in his video update.

Rogozin went on to say that Russia’s nuclear tactical weapons were the “great equalizer for the moments when there is a clear discrepancy in the enemy’s favor.” 

This type of nuclear saber-rattling has been a hallmark of Russia’s leadership ever since the initial three-day invasion failed. But at what point does the threat of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine make sense? And when should nuclear retaliation be considered?

In response to a question asking if he thought the use of nuclear weapons was a justifiable response to the drone strike against the Kremlin, Yevgeny Prigozhin said that using a nuclear bomb in retaliation was not a course of action Russia should consider taking. 

“As a radical person, I can say that the use of nuclear weapons in response to a drone, of course, is out of the question,” Prigozhin said in a message posted to his Telegram.

“An imminent deadly air fight is anticipated,” Rogozin said during a video update posted to Telegram from the frontlines in Zaporizhzhya according to The Moscow Times. 

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