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Ukraine Latest: NATO Worries Putin’s Threats Signal Desperation

People stand in the middle of rubble after a rocket attack in Mykolaiv on Oct. 23.

People stand in the middle of rubble after a rocket attack in Mykolaiv on Oct. 23.

Photographer: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

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Ukraine’s allies are increasingly concerned that desperation in the Kremlin over an unrelenting string of battlefield failures may lead Russia to escalate its war, possibly using a massive attack on a target like a dam or even a weapon of mass destruction.

For the moment, there’s no sign Moscow is actually making preparations for such a strike, even as it ratchets up the rhetoric, according to officials from North Atlantic Treaty Organization countries who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence. US and European defense ministers rejected allegations from Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in a rare round robin of phone calls Sunday alleging Kyiv is preparing to use a “dirty bomb.”