October 5, 2022

US has privately warned Russia against using nuclear weapons in Ukraine for several months

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It was not immediately clear when and how the alerts were sent. According to one official, the State Department was involved. The Biden administration has also leaned heavily on intelligence channels to deliver sensitive messages to Moscow and during Russia’s war operations in Ukraine, including recently in negotiations over wrongfully detained Americans.

Warnings, first reported by The Washington PostRussian President Vladimir Putin has again threatened to turn to nuclear weapons amid an embarrassing setback on the Ukrainian battlefield. In a speech on Wednesday, he warned that “in the event of a threat to our country’s territorial integrity and the defense of Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the weapons systems available to us.”

US officials have stressed that this is not the first time Putin has threatened to turn to nuclear weapons since launching the invasion of Ukraine in February, although some analysts have attributed the threat to the Russian president. Seen more specific and growing than past statements.

As Russia raises nuclear specter in Ukraine, China looks the other way

The United States has in the past tried to deter Russia from using nuclear weapons in public warnings and made the issue the subject of remarks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week. Foreign Secretary Antony Blanken said on Thursday that Russia’s “reckless nuclear threats must be stopped immediately.”

When U.S. President Joe Biden appeared on CBS’s “60 Minutes” last week and asked if he was considering using nuclear weapons, his message to Putin was: “Don’t, don’t, don’t.” do it.”

Biden said the U.S. response would be “conclusive” but would depend “on what they do,” without providing further details.

So far, senior CIA officials have said publicly that they have seen no signs that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons. But some military analysts worry that Russia could seek to use so-called tactical or battlefield nuclear weapons in response to its poor showing in Ukraine — sometimes called “escalation.” . Intelligence officials believe that Putin is likely to resort to this option only if he feels that Russia or his government is in existential danger, and it is unclear whether he feels that way. They would say that losing their war in Ukraine would fit this explanation.

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