The Russian invasion of Ukraine has made us all more acutely aware of the dangers of nuclear conflict than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Now, with Russia losing ground against an entrenched Ukrainian resistance, the stakes are only going to get higher.

Avril Haines, the director of National Intelligence for the Biden administration, recently stated that Russian President Vladimir Putin “would probably only authorize the use of nuclear weapons if he perceived an existential threat.” But, as the war drags on, Haines added that it heightens the potential for Putin to see the prospect of defeat as an existential threat.