Biden warns of nuclear ‘Armageddon’ as Putin threats mount

President Joe Biden said on Thursday the risk of nuclear ‘Armageddon’ was the highest in 60 years after Russian President Vladimir Putin renews its threats.

In remarks at a reception for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, Biden said it was the first time since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis that there was a “direct threat” of the use of nuclear weapons, “if, in fact, things continue the way they are going.

“We haven’t faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” he said, offering his most direct comments on the use of nuclear weapons since. Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Late last month, Putin renewed the nuclear threats he made at the start of the Russian invasion.

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people,” the Russian leader said. said in a national televised address.

“I’m not bluffing,” he added.

Putin issued his warning announcing the call for 300,000 Russian troops after his military forces suffered serious setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine.

This week, Kyiv troops were pushing forward in the east and south of the country, threatening another major breakthrough and forcing Putin’s soldiers to withdraw from territory he claimed to have annexed in a grand ceremony last week. With the mounting pressure over those defeats and the chaotic mobilization at home, fears have intensified that he might be ready to escalate further rather than accept defeat.

Biden said Thursday he takes Putin’s threat seriously.

“We have a guy that I know quite well. He’s not joking when he talks about the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, grossly underperforming.”

Biden added that he didn’t think there was a way for the Kremlin to resort to a tactical nuclear strike on the battlefield – as some analysts have speculated – without causing global catastrophe.

“I don’t think there is such a thing as the ability to easily [use] a tactical nuke and not end up with Armageddon,” he said.

“We are trying to figure out what is Putin’s exit ramp? Where does he find a way out? Where is he where he not only loses face but significant power?” Biden said.

Biden was speaking at the home of James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, who was hosting the fundraiser. His somewhat reckless comments were not said on camera but reported by reporters under the pool’s reporting system.

Speaking earlier on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Putin knows “the world will never forgive” Russia if it uses nuclear weapons.

“He understands that after the use of nuclear weapons he would no longer be able to preserve, so to speak, his life, and I am convinced of that,” Zelenskyy said.

The United States has officially been cautious in its assessment of Putin’s nuclear threats.

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said: “We have seen no reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture, and we have no indication that Russia is preparing to imminent use of nuclear weapons”.

Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” last month that the consequences “would be catastrophic if Russia went down the dark path of using nuclear weapons.” .

Pressed by host Chuck Todd on what those countermeasures would be, Sullivan simply said, “In the private channels, we explained in more detail exactly what that would mean.”

Putin has used the threat of nuclear weapons as a tactic throughout his presidency, promising to aim its warheads at European targets in 2007.

In 2018, Russia unveiled a new range of nuclear-capable weaponsincluding an intercontinental ballistic missile that renders defense systems “useless”, Putin claimed.

Western military analysts have expressed doubts as to whether the Russian leader’s latest threats represent a real change of heart.

“I think that signals that he wants people to think he would risk nuclear war,” Phillips O’Brien, professor of strategic studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, told NBC News on day of Putin’s televised warning. “I don’t think that means he’s any more likely to do that than he was yesterday.”

Kelly O’Donnell contributed.

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