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On February 24, 2022, the world witnessed the commencement of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Fast forward two years, and there is still no resolution in sight for the largest conflict in Europe since World War II. Since the beginning of the war there was a widespread anticipation that Russia would swiftly overcome Ukrainian defenses and seize control of the capital, Kyiv.

The ongoing warfare has uprooted millions of Ukrainians, reshaped the geopolitical dynamics of Europe, and inflicted substantial global economic repercussions. Supply chains have been disrupted, contributing to inflation.

The war has entered its third year, and the momentum today rests with Russia. There is no indication of emergence of peace talks anytime soon, both the country's peace plans are currently in contradictory stage. Amid the sustained unrest, CNN reported that as per two senior administration officials, the US began 'preparing rigorously' for the possibility of Russia launching a nuclear strike on Ukraine.

As per reports the Biden administration harbored specific concerns regarding the potential deployment of a tactical or battlefield nuclear weapon by Russia amid the ongoing conflict. They were ready to deploy every tactic in the book to avoid the possibility of a nuclear conflict.

US's Cue For Fear Of Nuclear Attack

1. Russian forces faced a devastating period in late summer 2022 as Ukrainian forces advanced on Russian-occupied Kherson. The potential for a catastrophic loss and the surrounding of Russian units were perceived as triggers for the use of nuclear weapons by Russia.

2. Between late summer and fall of 2022, the National Security Council held a sequence of meetings to develop contingency plans in case of a clear sign or an actual occurrence of a nuclear attack by Russia. The unforeseen necessity for these preparations took numerous officials by surprise.

3. Simultaneously, Russia's propaganda machine circulated a false flag story about a Ukrainian dirty bomb, raising fears that it could serve as a cover for a Russian nuclear attack. US officials dismissed the warnings but remained concerned about Russia's motivations.

4. Intelligence agencies received information about communications among Russian officials explicitly discussing a nuclear strike. The risk level was deemed to be escalating, prompting urgent outreach and high-level discussions between US and Russian officials.

Plan To Avoid The Contingency

The United States actively reached out to its allies and sought assistance from non-allied nations, such as China and India, to dissuade Russia from initiating a nuclear attack. The participation of influential global entities was deemed crucial in preventing a crisis.

Despite a reduction in the immediate threat as the conflict reached a relative stalemate, officials from the US and its allies maintain a state of heightened vigilance. Ongoing refinement of plans acknowledges the potential escalation of nuclear threats in the coming months.