WARSAW, Poland (AP) — It has been a long time since the threat of nuclear weapons has been brandished by a world leader, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has just done so.

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He warned that he has the weapons available if anyone dares to use military means tries to stop the takeover of Ukraine.

The threat may have been empty, a mere baring of fangs by the Russian leader.

But it brought out thoughts of a nightmare scenario in which Putin's ambitions in Ukraine could lead to a nuclear war through accident or miscalculation.