According to the academician, neither Russia nor the United States will go for the deliberate use of nuclear weapons in the event of a conflict, as they understand the consequences of its use and that there will be no winners in such a war. However, there are two more likely scenarios for starting a nuclear apocalypse. According to Arbatov, one cannot disregard the usual technical failure, as a result of which missile attack warning systems will work. If one of the parties responds to a false alarm with a real blow, this may lead to the start of a full-scale nuclear war. Also, this may not be a technical failure, but a provocation organized by terrorists.
The second scenario of the outbreak of a nuclear war involves the escalation of a local military conflict into a global one, when one side, anticipating its loss, uses tactical nuclear weapons to de-escalate, but this does not stop the second side, which also uses nuclear weapons.
The side that will start to lose may decide to use nuclear weapons to a limited extent to stop the conflict and carry out the so-called de-escalation. But in response to this use, the other side will also use nuclear weapons, and so the exchange of attacks will increase along the stairs of escalation: first from the tactical level, then from medium range, and then strategic
- explained Arbatov, adding that the termination of the INF Treaty only "exacerbates the situation."