Senior Tory MP warns tactical nuclear weapons could be used in the next decade

Russian President Vladimir Putin conducts an open lesson on Knowledge Day in Kaliningrad, Russia September 1, 2022. Sputnik/Alexey Maishev/Pool via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Vladimir Putin has previously hinted he would be prepared to use nuclear weapons. (Reuters)

A senior Tory MP has warned the world could see a tactical nuclear weapon attack in the next 10 years as Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine enters its sixth month.

Speaking on Times Radio on Friday, Tobias Ellwood said the world "will change" when it comes to the use of nuclear weapons following the war in Ukraine.

"We're in for a very, very difficult decade," said the chair of the defence select committee.

Read more: Vladimir Putin claims Russia's weapons are 'decades ahead' of Western counterparts

"Our world will change. I suspect that we will see a tactical nuclear weapon used in the next 10 years.

"I hope that will then wake people up to say: 'wow, life is going to get dangerous'."

Ellwood also said that the UK needs "another Churchill" and warned of a "massive international headache" on the horizon.

File photo dated 14/05/19 of tory MP Tobias Ellwood who lost the party whip after he failed to support the Government in a confidence vote on Monday, has called recent weeks a
Defence committee chair Tobias Ellwood warned nuclear weapons could be used by the end of the decade. (PA)

Foreign secretary Liz Truss and bookies' favourite as the next prime minister, at a leadership hustings event in Birmingham, said she would be prepared nuclear weapons to a round of applause.

"I think it's an important duty of the prime minister and I'm ready to do that," said Truss immediately.

Putin has consistently hinted he would be prepared to use nuclear weapons following NATO's increased support of Ukraine since the invasion.

In June, Putin said he could use weapons capable of carrying nuclear war heads.

Read more: Putin’s military command centres in Ukraine hit by ‘intensive long-range strikes’ in counterattack, says UK

"We are not a threat... yet," Putin told the International Economic Forum.

"Everyone should know what we have them and that we will use them if we need to protect our sovereignty."

However, in August, Putin appeared to soften his rhetoric.

"We proceed from the fact that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed, and we stand for equal and indivisible security for all members of the world community," he said.

A man rides a bicycle in front of buildings destroyed by Russian military strike, amid Russia's invasion on Ukraine, are seen in the town of Dobropillia, in Donetsk region, Ukraine June 14, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. (Reuters)

British Army officer Major General Tim Cross on Tuesday told Times Radio that Russian doctrine stipulates nuclear strikes could be part of war.

"I think the most worrying thing is that Russian doctrine for defending Russian-occupied territory includes the use of tactical nuclear weapons," said Cross.

Read more: Top Russian General Filmed Lying to Putin’s Face in Awkward Briefing

"There’s no doubt at all that that’s an option.

"I still am pretty reluctant to believe that Russians would use tactical nuclear weapons but it is nonetheless part of their doctrine, and if they feel they are under threat then they would perhaps be prepared to use it."

Warnings of the use of nuclear weapons come as Mikhail Gorbachev - former president of the Soviet Union who signed the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty with Ronald Reagan - died at the age of 91.

The pair famously said in 1987: “A nuclear war cannot be won, and must never be fought."

Watch: Nuclear weapons a tangible and present crisis amid Russia's war in Ukraine, says Nagasaki's mayor