Russia's military has suffered a number of battlefield reverses, with Ukrainian troops advancing on the southern city of Kherson after routing Russian forces in the Kharkiv region in September.
This has sparked growing concerns that the Kremlin will resort to nuclear attacks, with U.S. President Joe Biden warning the risk of nuclear war is at its highest since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
Speaking on Thursday 10/06/2022 in New York, the president said: "We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis [in 1962]."
Referring to Putin, Biden added: "We've got a guy I know fairly well. He's not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming."
Professor Eric G. Swedin, who teaches history at Weber State University, told Newsweek he thinks Putin will deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield, or in a "demonstration strike" intended to intimidate Ukraine and the West. Instead, Swedin said Putin will go straight to direct attacks on major Ukrainian cities.
" Putin is being backed into a corner on Ukraine as his armed forces face defeat," said Swedin. "He will lash out with tactical nuclear weapons in a desperate attempt to change the outcome before Christmas.