The US has been warning the Kremlin for months about the consequences of using a nuclear weapon in its conflict with Ukraine, officials said.
Anonymous officials told The Washington Post that the White House has been publicly deliberately vague about what those consequences would be in an effort to raise concern among Russian leaders, a method of nuclear deterrence called “strategic ambiguity.”
President Biden underlined his opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday, where he warned the Russian leader not to “change the face of war.”
“Do not. do not. do not. You will change the face of war like nothing since World War II,” Biden said when host Scott Pelley asked for a message to Putin about weapons of mass destruction.
Biden added that the US response to Russia’s use of nuclear weapons would depend on “the magnitude of what they do”.
Russian Security Council deputy chairman Dmitry Medvedev raised fears of Russia’s possible use of weapons when he announced on Thursday that the country would be willing to use “strategic nuclear weapons” to protect itself.Read:Russia steps up attacks with Iranian drones, Ukraine plans defences
“The protection of all the merged areas will be significantly strengthened by the Russian armed forces,” Medvedev wrote on Telegram.
“Russia has announced that not only mobilization capabilities, but also all Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles, can be used for such protection.”
Ukrainian General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, commander in chief of the country’s armed forces, and Lieutenant General Mykhailo Zabrodskyi predicted in an article earlier this month that nuclear war was a “threat.”
“It is hard to imagine that even nuclear strikes will allow Russia to break Ukraine’s will to resist,” the two wrote for state news channel Ukrinform.Read:Hurricane Ian expected to intensify rapidly and hit Florida as major storm this week
“But the threat that will arise for all of Europe cannot be ignored.”
The pair encouraged Ukraine’s western allies to deploy their “whole arsenal of resources” to prevent the possibility of nuclear war.