The United States has issued a stern warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin over the use of nuclear weapons in its continued invasion of Ukraine.
President Joe Biden was interviewed for this Sunday’s edition of 60 Minutes, his first appearance on the long-running news program since his election, where he was asked by Scott Pelley about the potential deployment of “chemical or tactical nuclear weapons” by Russia as it suffers embarrassing setbacks in its invasion. Biden’s response was blunt.
“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” the president said. “You will change the face of war unlike anything since World War II.”
Pelley then pressed Biden for details about what the U.S. response would be to such actions, to which Biden said that he would not share any details if he knew them. He only stressed that the response would be “consequential.”
“[Russia] will become more of a pariah in the world than they ever have been,” Biden added. “And depending on the extent of what they do will determine what response would occur.”
Meanwhile, the Kremlin responded to Biden’s warning that Putin should not resort to weapons of mass destruction. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on Saturday that they should “read the doctrine.”
The country’s nuclear doctrine says the use of nuclear weapons might follow “an aggression against Russia or its ally with the use of mass destruction weapons” or if the country faced aggression “when the very existence of the state is under threat.”
Russia first launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February, alleging mistreatment of ethnic Russians in the breakaway Donbas region based on unfounded evidence. In the intervening six months, the response from Ukrainian forces has prevented Russia from taking control of major cities, including the capital of Kyiv, and has led to several major setbacks.
Most recently, Ukrainian fighters launched a successful counteroffensive on September 8 that liberated numerous key strategic positions in the Kharkiv region, causing Russian forces to flee.
Amid rumors that Ukraine might be planning a similar offensive into Crimea, the region annexed by Russia in 2014, officials in the region’s Russian-backed government have allegedly begun to scramble, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense. The ministry claimed last week that, despite reassurances from Moscow, officials in Crimea are attempting to sell their homes and return to Russia as soon as possible.
Newsweek reached out to Russian officials for comment.
“Well, evidently the time has come for us perhaps, I’ve already said this, to hold drills for practicing scenarios in which Russian tactical nuclear weapons are used. It’s just that when we encounter NATO’s nuclear blackmail, we shouldn’t be running around thinking about how to respond,” host Igor Korotchenko said. “I propose that a nuclear planning ground be set up under the Security Council in order to…determine our aims and objectives, including of the eventuality of us having to react in this way…which of NATO’s critical infrastructure facilities, which units and headquarters may be targets for a strike since we will soon be issued with a direct nuclear ultimatum by the NATO alliance.”
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