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Putin possibly practicing Cold War-era ‘brinksmanship,’ CMU professor says

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Ministry of Defense of Ukraine
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Openverse

If Russia annexes occupied territories in Ukraine, Putin said he will use every available weapon—including nuclear ones.

This tactic is called brinksmanship, where one country makes threats to the brink of war and then a diplomatic solution is reached, said David Jesuit, political science professor at Central Michigan University.

As the war wages on, he said the U.S. will see more Ukrainian refugees. And some of them might land in Michigan.

“Michiganders could be most helpful by understanding that people that are leaving for their lives have some protected status in the United States under our law and international law, and try to have some sympathy and empathy and understanding for those individuals," Jesuit said.

Referendums asking people in eastern Ukraine to join Russia could be used as a form of propaganda to incite the Russian population for mobilization, he said.

"The Russian people are facing potential humanitarian crisis, loss of potentially even more of their political rights and liberties, and so my thoughts are also with those in Russia," Jesuit said.

Putin’s brinksmanship is risky, but he doubts nuclear weapons will be used in the war, he said.

Ben Jodway is an intern, serving as a reporter for WCMU Public Media and the Pioneer in Big Rapids. He has covered Indigenous communities and political extremism in Michigan.