Russia Operation Unthinkable.

Russia Operation Unthinkable.


Why in the News? 

Recently, a Moscow military expert claims Russia plans to disable the nuclear deterrents of Britain and France ‘within one day’ if World War Three breaks out. The Putin regime is also developing £330,000 mobile nuclear shelters for major cities to protect key individuals in the event of an apocalyptic war. “Within one day, we carry out Operation Unthinkable. We eliminate the nuclear potentials of Britain and France,” The Mirror quoted Dr Yuri Baranchik as saying.  

The Russian tactics in ‘Operation Unthinkable’ would “deprive Europe of its military-geopolitical status”, said Dr Yuri Baranchik, while outlining Russia’s tactics if World War 3 unfolds.  

He further commented that such measures would effectively “neutralise the nuclear capabilities of Britain and France”, eliminating any leverage the NATO alliance might have over Russia in the European theatre. By hindering the nuclear forces of France and the wider European region, NATO would be left with limited tactical and US nuclear arsenals. Utilising these, however, would lead to the “annihilation of America”, as pointed out by the Russian military analyst.

Backgrounds of the Operation Unthinkable: 

  • Operation Unthinkable was a set of two related possible future war plans developed by the British Chiefs of Staff Committee against the USSR in 1945, at the end of World War II in Europe. The plans were never implemented, and their existence remained secret until 1998. 
  • The primary objectives were to impose “the will of the United States and British Empire upon Russia” and ensure a “square deal for Poland” through military action. 
  • The development of the plans took place in May 1945, coinciding with the end of the conflict in Europe following the downfall of Nazi Germany. Churchill was wary of the Soviet Union’s motives in Europe and the possibility of its expansionist agenda. He aimed to prepare for any situation from worsening ties with the Soviet Union. 
  • The strategic proposals were crafted by the Joint Planning Staff of the British Armed Forces, taking into account two potential strategies:  
  1. Offensive Strategy: This involved launching a preemptive strike against Soviet troops in Germany, aiming to enforce the objectives of the United States and the British Empire on Russia. This approach was based on the anticipation that the Soviet Union would ally with Japan should hostilities with the Western Allies begin. 
  2. Defensive Strategy: In this scenario, British military forces would prepare to repel a Soviet offensive aiming for the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, particularly when American troops withdraw from Europe.
  •  Neither of the plans was ever implemented. The geopolitical landscape quickly shifted towards the Cold War, focusing on political and ideological confrontation rather than immediate military conflict.
  • Operation Unthinkable highlights early Western apprehensions about the Soviet Union, foreshadowing the Cold War. It also illustrates Churchill’s foresight and willingness to consider extreme measures to counter potential Soviet aggression. 

Operation Unthinkable is an intriguing hypothetical scenario in military history. It highlights the intricate and uncertain dynamics of the period right after World War II. It emphasizes how delicate alliances were and how quickly relationships transitioned from wartime cooperation to postwar competition, marking the beginning of the Cold War.

Way Forward: 

  • Facilitate direct negotiations between the conflicting parties, possibly mediated by neutral or respected international figures or organisations (e.g., the United Nations). Use backchannel communications to build trust and address sensitive issues that may not be suitable for public discussion.
  • International organisations such as the UN, OSCE, or regional bodies should be engaged to mediate the conflict. Involve influential countries or leaders who can act as intermediaries.
  • Impose targeted sanctions on Russia’s key sectors and backers of the war, coordinate internationally to close loopholes, offer aid for peace, and suggest lifting sanctions for concrete peace steps.
  • Provide humanitarian assistance to affected populations to alleviate suffering and prevent further destabilisation. Establish and support humanitarian corridors to ensure safe civilian passage and aid delivery.


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Q. Discuss how the war affected global health and access to healthcare. How does the international community respond to wars and their aftermath?

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