Der SpiegelDer Spiegel

Germany and US play out scenarios of a nuclear strike by Russia

By René Pfister, Christina Hebel, Matthias Gebauer, Georg Fahrion and Christian Esch

07 Oct 2022 · 13 min read

Editor's Note

Western governments still believe Putin is bluffing when he rattles his nuclear saber. But they’re taking the threats seriously enough to prepare for terrifying scenarios. Der Spiegel has the details.

Is this what a victorious army looks like? "Hooray," cries a lone voice, sounding as though the man is trying to muster up some courage on this depressingly gray October day. The smell of alcohol lingers over the crowd at just before 11 a.m. outside the draft office in Balashikha, a drab suburb east of Moscow.

"Louder!" slurs a man, followed up by a rather lackadaisical reply. "My God," groans a young reservist. "Where am I?" But most of the men remain silent as they wait to be sent to war. Or they try to comfort their crying wives and mothers. Scenes like the one in Balashikha are currently playing out in hundreds of different places in Russia.

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