China, 29 February, 2023 : Leaked military files reveal Kremlin’s plans for tactical nuclear weapons use in potential invasions, including by China. The 29 files outline conditions for nuclear use in offensive goals such as containing aggression and making the navy more effective. Despite dating back a decade, experts find them relevant to current Russian military doctrine.

The leaked documents, seen by the Financial Times, describe a lower threshold for tactical nuclear weapons use than publicly admitted. Alexander Gabuev from the Carnegie Russia Eurasia Center notes a low operational threshold if conventional means fail.

A spokesperson for President Putin challenges the authenticity of the documents, as reported by the FT.

One scenario involves China invading Russia, prompting Moscow to deploy tactical nukes in a first-strike decision.

“In one war game scenario, China pays fake protesters to clash with police in Russia’s Far East, then sends saboteurs to attack Russian security infrastructure. Once tensions peak, China accuses Russia of ‘genocide,'” the FT reports.

Separate reports suggest Putin might use chemical weapons on German cities in a NATO war. The Bundestag issues a briefing paper outlining a worst-case scenario with chemical attacks and increased nuclear threats from Moscow.