Putin’s nuclear threat: reminder to Moscow – Politics

The White House takes Vladimir Putin’s threats very seriously that he could go to Ukraine nuclear weapons deploy. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan left no doubt about that. The White House informed the Kremlin “directly, privately and at a very high level that any use of nuclear weapons will be answered with catastrophic consequences for Russia”. That’s how Sullivan formulated it last Friday, as unequivocally as it was vaguely. It was in response to Russia moving forward with the annexation of parts of south-eastern Ukraine and at the same time Russian President Vladimir Putin has been threatening to use his nuclear arsenal.

Sullivan did not want to explain what “catastrophic consequences” the USA had threatened Russia with. “Clearly and specifically” was said to the Kremlin, he said. The White House does not make its plans public. Under no circumstances do the Americans want to turn the escalation screw any further.

While the government emphasizes that it takes Putin’s threat seriously, it has had experts spread the word in the background that an immediate nuclear strike by Russia is not imminent. The US is closely monitoring Russia’s nuclear weapons and so far there are no signs of preparing warheads for launch. The White House was also trying to calm the rumor mill. Pictures had been circulating on social media that allegedly showed a Russian special train transporting nuclear warheads.

Since the beginning of the war, US President Joe Biden has always emphasized that he wanted to avoid a direct confrontation with Russia. However, it can be assumed that he threatened Putin with very serious consequences – in line with the old policy of deterrence, which is intended to prevent both sides from using nuclear weapons. The US has just increased its support for Ukraine by another $12 billion.

An ex-general even threatened to sink the Russian Black Sea fleet

At the same time, however, there is a discussion about how the United States would react if Russia were to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. Prominent ex-General David Petraeus said the US could eliminate Russian troops in Ukraine and the Black Sea Fleet. Petraeus expressly declared this to be a private assessment, so as not to be seen as a shadow diplomat in Russia.

However, such very rapid escalation spirals are not in the foreground. The White House is therefore apparently preparing for a whole range of graduated responses to various scenarios. For example, how to react if Putin detonates a tactical nuclear weapon, a low-yield one, in the air over Ukraine? Publicly, however, the warning from last Friday that any use of nuclear weapons will have catastrophic consequences for Russia remains. This means that the old policy of deterrence will take full effect – and that Putin will refrain from testing such intermediate scenarios.

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