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Scott Ritter: Ukraine's NATO Allies Dragging World Into Nuclear Armageddon

The West has misinterpreted Russia's openness to dialogue on Ukraine as a sign of weakness and is now pushing the world to the edge of a disastrous all-out nuclear exchange, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter told Sputnik.
US President Joe Biden has authorized Ukraine to hit targets inside Russia with US-made weapons, bringing the conflict to a new level. White House officials claim that Washington's new policy pertains only to what they call as "acts of self-defense" by the Ukrainian military that is continuing to retreat.
Previously, other NATO member states, including the UK, France and Sweden, gave a nod to the Zelensky regime to use their weapons systems to attack Russia.
The Kiev regime and its Western allies believe they can gain an advantage over Russia by confining its special military operation to Ukrainian territory, ex-US Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter told Sputnik. This situation allows Ukraine to train its troops in neighboring NATO states and receive arms and other equipment from the alliance's hubs, not making them Russia's legitimate targets.
However, things could drastically change once NATO-grade missiles start flying into Russia's territory with the approval of Western countries, according to the military expert.
"France is now giving Ukraine permission to use the SCALP air launched cruise missile against targets inside Russia," Ritter said. "Now [French President Emmanuel Macron] claims it's just military targets, there won't be hitting any civilian infrastructure, but it doesn't matter. The fact is, if the French Scalp missile is used to attack targets inside Russia, this isn't Ukraine defending itself, it's France attacking Russia," he stated.
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The military expert indicated that it is a widely accepted fact that Ukrainians lack the ability to pre-program long-range SCALP missiles armed with conventional warheads. Therefore, it would be necessary for French technicians to carry out this task. The question arises: where would they obtain the targeting data? According to Ritter, the French military relies on a network of Syracuse satellites to transmit the essential information required for SCALP missiles.
"The bottom line is it is French space reconnaissance that's gathering information and transmitting the information to the people who program the SCALP. The French operators, using French communication systems that transmit data collected by French intelligence satellites. This is France attacking. Who picks the target? Ukraine. France? It doesn't matter. It's the French."
Ritter spotlighted the fact that Moscow has recently signaled that it is well aware of who operates NATO-grade long-range missiles and who provides reconnaissance and communications.
"[Russian President Vladimir Putin] knows that it's not Ukrainian space reconnaissance, it's not Ukrainian communications, it's not Ukrainian technicians that are doing the targeting. It is the French, it is the Germans. It is the British. It is the Americans. And therefore, if these missiles, these weapons systems that are now being greenlit by the respective Western nations, to be used by Ukraine to attack targets inside Russia, if this happens, this is no longer about Ukraine defending itself. It's about NATO attacking Russia."
The question then arises as to how Russia will respond to these attacks, continued the military expert. According to NATO member states, they authorize Ukraine to use their weapons against Russia as sovereign nations, not as a military bloc. According to Ritter, this apparently means that they invite Russia's retaliation strikes inside their respective territories and will not invoke Article 5, stipulating collective defense of NATO member states. "Because if they do that, then it's clear that this is a NATO confrontation against Russia," he stressed.
"If NATO chooses then to respond by launching additional attacks against Russia (remember, these are retaliation attacks – Russia is retaliating against NATO attacks against its territory) this would be an all-out assault by NATO against Russia. And former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev made it clear that the Russian response would be nuclear. And this would lead to a general nuclear exchange and the end of the world. That's where we're at right now. This isn't about helping Ukraine. This isn't about Ukraine defending itself. This is about a larger plan by the collective West, by NATO, by the United States to strategically defeat Russia."
A Patriot long-range air defence system of the German Bundeswehr armed forces is deployed at Vilnius Airport. File photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.05.2024
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The West's major problem is that it has completely misread Russia since the outset of the conflict and considered Moscow's calls for dialogue and negotiated settlement as a sign of weakness, according to the military analyst.
"Therefore the collective determination of the West is that they just continue to pressure Russia, ratchet up the pressure that Russia will fold like a house of cards, and run to the peace table and bring an end to this conflict. That's not going to happen. This is a misreading of the situation by the West," warned Ritter.
"And so the West now will attack Russia, trying to pressure Russia to the peace table. But all it will do is guarantee a Russian response that if the West doesn't respond properly to that, if the West thinks that it therefore has the right to strike, Russian return will lead to Armageddon, the end of the world. That's where we're at today. This isn't a game. This isn't a joke. This is the end of all humanity," the military expert cautioned.
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