The U.S. sent a clear warning to the Kremlin on Sunday, saying that “catastrophic” and “decisive” actions will occur if Russia uses tactical or strategic nuclear weapons in its war with Ukraine.
The Biden administration said it is taking Russian President Vladimir Putin’s nuclear warnings “deadly seriously.” Putin had recently warned that the country’s vast nuclear arsenal may be in play.
Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan declared that if Russia were to cross the nuclear line, there would be severe consequences. He added that the U.S. would “respond decisively.”
He was not specific as to exactly what the American reaction would entail, but did note that more detail was laid out “in private channels.”
A similar message came from Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday during CBS’s “60 Minutes.” He said that Moscow must “hear from us” that the consequences would be “horrific.” He, like Sullivan, also described the results as “catastrophic.”
Putin in recent days announced a partial mobilization to strengthen Russian forces and is pressing ahead on “referendums” within loosely controlled areas of Ukraine.
The United States warned on Sunday of "catastrophic consequences" if Moscow were to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, after Russia's foreign minister said regions holding widely-criticized referendums would get full protection if annexed by Moscow. https://t.co/g6bkOGLWmM
— Newsmax (@newsmax) September 26, 2022
In the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, voting on being “annexed” by Russia ends this week. This action, if passed, would give the Kremlin the pretext it believes it needs to defend what it considers as its own territory.
Indeed, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov emphasized last weekend that the regions, if they are annexed, would receive the “full protection of the state.”
This is presumably by any means deemed necessary.
In a rare televised address last week, Putin denounced what he called the “nuclear blackmail” of the West and accused his enemies of trying to provoke the Kremlin. He then warned of the vast nuclear arsenal his nation possesses.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told CBS’s “Face the Nation” that he does not believe that Putin is bluffing. The president said that the Russian leader “wants to scare the whole world” and that these are the “first steps of his nuclear blackmail.”