After Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine on Wednesday, warning that the threats were not a hoax, U.S. sources said the United States had private contacts with Moscow and warned the Russian leadership of the dire consequences that would follow. its application. nuclear weapons, according to US officials.
According to the Washington Post, the Joe Biden administration has generally chosen to be deliberately vague about the type of U.S. response, so the Kremlin is concerned about how Washington might react, officials said.
The report pointed out that the White House’s attempt to impose what is known in the world of nuclear deterrence as “strategic ambiguity” at a time when Russia continues to escalate its rhetoric about the possible use of nuclear weapons amid internal mobilization aimed at ending Russia’s military losses in the east of Ukraine.
The State Department was involved in private correspondence with Moscow, and it was not clear if the United States sent any new private messages hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the latest nuclear threat during a speech announcing partial mobilization early in the morning. on Wednesday. An official high-ranking American said that contacts have been constant in recent months.
Biden administration officials have stressed that this is not the first time that the Russian leadership has threatened to use nuclear weapons since the war began on Feb. 24, and said there is no sign that Russia is moving its nuclear weapons in preparation for an imminent strike.
However, the latest statements by the Russian leadership are more specific than previous comments, and come at a time when Russia is teetering on the battlefield in the wake of a U.S.-backed Ukrainian counteroffensive.
While the Kremlin’s previous statements appeared to be intended to warn the United States and its allies against over-assisting Ukraine, Putin’s recent comments have shown that Russia is considering using nuclear weapons on Ukraine’s battlefield to freeze gains and force Kyiv and his supporters.
“Everyone should understand that this is one of, if not the most serious, episodes of the use of nuclear weapons in recent decades,” said Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association. “The consequences of a so-called limited nuclear war would be absolutely catastrophic,” he said.
For years, US nuclear experts feared that Russia might use smaller tactical nuclear weapons, sometimes called “battlefield nukes,” to end conventional warfare on its terms—a strategy sometimes called “escalate-de-escalate.”
Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, Vadym Skipetsky, told Britain’s ITV News on Thursday that Russia could use nuclear weapons against Ukraine “to stop our activities and destroy our state.” “This is a threat to other countries, the explosion of tactical nuclear weapons will have an effect not only in Ukraine, but also in the Black Sea region,” he added.
Biden declined to give details of the US response, saying only that the response will depend on “the extent of what they do.”
The report indicated that the Biden administration would face a crisis if Russia used a small nuclear weapon on Ukraine, which is not an ally of the United States. Any direct U.S. military response against Russia could lead to the possibility of a wider war between the nuclear-armed great powers that made it avoid. The Biden administration has recognized its top priority in all political processes in Ukraine.