VLADIMIR Putin wants to scare the US with his “bully boy” threats to set up military bases in Cuba but he won’t put nuclear weapons on America’s doorstep, an expert says.
Hawkish Russian foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov threatened to deploy forces in Latin America if security talks with the West fail to satisfy Moscow’s demands.
Speaking about potential military deployment, the politician told state media outlet RTVI: “It depends on the steps of our American counterparts.”
The threat came after Russia failed to persuade the West to block Ukraine from joining Nato and roll back decades of expansion in Europe.
Moscow branded the outcome of East-West talks as “disappointing” as tensions between the US and Russia over the Ukrainian crisis continue to simmer.
Taras Kuzio, a research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and a Ukrainian political expert, told The Sun: “Threatening to deploy military infrastructure in Cuba is just Putin’s childish attempt to poke the Americans in the eye.
“It’s Moscow’s way of being very immature and they are stomping their feet because they didn’t get what they wanted. They made ultimatums and all it did was lead to the uniting of the West.
“Putin is just angry that the talks didn’t get anywhere. It’s his way of saying ‘I’ll show you’.
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“He carries a lot of anger inside him about how he thinks the West treated Russia after the collapse of the USSR in the 1990s and that anger keeps lashing out.”
Ryabkov said he could “neither confirm nor exclude” the possibility of Russia sending military assets to Latin America if the US doesn’t reduce its “activity” on Moscow’s doorstep.
Kuzio doesn’t think the “bully-boy bluffing” is a “big deal” but warned the situation could escalate if Moscow puts nukes in America’s backyard.
He said: “I mean if we go back to 1962 where Russia put nuclear weapons in Cuba then that’s a big deal but I don’t think Moscow will be that stupid.”
The 1962 crisis is the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear war.
The expert suspects that missile systems and military bases could be put on the Caribbean island if Russia carries out its threat.
He added: “I don’t think it will be a major operation because it would be costly. Cuba is too far away from Russia.
“They may supply the Cubans with some high-tech Russian equipment. And if those missiles could strike US territory, it would lead to a lot of angry American politicians.”
Tensions between the US and Russia do not appear to be de-escalating as diplomats gravely warned that Europe is the closest it’s ever been to armed conflict in the past 30 years.
NATO rejected Russian demands for guarantees that Ukraine will never join the alliance.
Diplomats also rebuffed calls to withdraw forces from Eastern European nations that joined the alliance after the Cold War.
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said: “Together the United States and our NATO allies made clear we will not slam the door shut on NATO’s open-door policy.”
She branded Moscow’s demands a “non-starter”.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz claimed that the Biden administration is “enabling the aggression of Putin”.
Michael Carpenter, the US Ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said: “We’re facing a crisis in European security.”
‘WE’RE FACING A CRISIS’
And, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau warned: “It seems that the risk of war in the OSCE area is now greater than ever before in the last 30 years.
“For several weeks we have been faced with the prospect of a major military escalation in Eastern Europe.”
And Ben Wallace, the UK Defence Secretary, warned that the West “must prepare for the worst”.
He vowed that Britain would “stand up to bullies” as fears of a Russian invasion continue to mount.
No invasion by Moscow appears to be imminent as it stands despite the wargames.
Russia amassed around 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border, put its satellite destroying S-550 missile into service, and launched the Angara A-5 – its largest rocket since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Geopolitical expert Brandon J Weichert previously told The Sun: “Putin wins points at home if he beats his chest at the West.
“But I do think if we’re not careful, Putin will lash out and he will strike.
“Washington is completely misreading this when diplomats and officials say it’s a bluff.”
Weichert also claimed that Moscow is “plotting” to launch a Pearl Harbor-style attack against the US.
He warned that Washington is behind both Moscow and Beijing in the so-called space race as both nations have weaponized the galaxies.
In his book, Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower, Weichert says that Russian co-orbital satellites, known as space stalkers, have been tailgating US satellites for years.
He predicts that the stalkers will eventually hit the satellites, sending them crashing into the ground.
He claimed officials in Moscow are plotting to launch such an attack at the time of its choosing.