Russia threatened to use nukes against the Baltics – book

According to the newly-released book, “Fear” by the legendary journalist Bob Woodward, Russia warned the United States that it could use nuclear weapons against the Baltics.

“Russia had privately warned [the US defence secretary Jim] Mattis that if there was a war in the Baltics, Russia would not hesitate to use tactical nuclear weapons against NATO,” Woodward’s book says.

“Mattis, with agreement from [the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Joseph] Dunford, began saying that Russia was an existential threat to the United States,” the book continues.

It’s not clear in what context the warning was made. According to the book, the warning came some time during or before the summer of 2017.

Tactical nukes have smaller yields than strategic nukes

According to Business Insider, imagery released earlier in 2018 indicated ongoing renovations at what appeared to be an active nuclear-weapons storage site in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea, south of Lithuania.

Tactical nuclear weapons typically have smaller yields and are generally meant for limited uses on the battlefield. Strategic nuclear weapons usually have higher yields and are used over longer ranges, Business Insider notes.

“Fear,” Bob Woodward’s book about turmoil and disarray in the White House, was released on 11 September.

Woodward is a legendary American investigative journalist who, as a young reporter, together with journalist Carl Bernstein, did much of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal in 1972. These reports led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of president Richard Nixon.

Woodward has worked for the Washington Post since 1971. He has written 18 books on American politics, 12 of which have topped best-seller lists.


Cover: Russian Iskander tactical nukes in Kaliningrad (courtesy of

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About the author: Sten Hankewitz

Sten Hankewitz is a lifelong journalist and Deputy Editor at Estonian World. Having lived in Estonia, Spain, the UK and all around the US, he now resides in Chicago, IL. He loves to write and besides working at Estonian World and doing some occasional blogging, he writes books and contributes to other outlets in Estonia, Israel and elsewhere. He has strong convictions and he shows them unashamedly. You can follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook or check out his personal blog. You can write to Sten at