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 Russia’s potential deployment of “chemical or tactical nuclear weapons” as it suffers embarrassing setbacks in of his invasion. Biden’s response was direct.
“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” the president said. “You will change the face of warfare like never before since World War II.”
Pelley then pressed Biden for details on the U.S. response to such actions, to which Biden said he would not share any details if he knew about them. He only stressed that the answer would be “consecutive”.
“[Russia] will become more of an outcast in the world than they ever have been,” Biden added. “And depending on the extent of what they do, that 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 states that the use of nuclear weapons could follow “an aggression against Russia or its ally with the use of weapons of mass destruction” or if the country faced aggression “when the existence even of the State is threatened”.
Russia first launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February, alleging mistreatment of ethnic Russians in the separatist Donbass region based on unsubstantiated evidence. Over the next six months, the response of Ukrainian forces prevented Russia from taking control of major cities, including the capital of Kyiv, and resulted in several major setbacks.
More recently, Ukrainian fighters launched a successful counter-offensive on September 8 that liberated many key strategic positions in the Kharkiv region, causing Russian forces to flee.
Amid rumors that Ukraine may be planning a similar offensive in Crimea, the region annexed by Russia in 2014, officials from the region’s Russian-backed government have reportedly started scrambling, according to Ukraine’s Defense Ministry . The ministry claimed last week that, despite assurances from Moscow, officials in Crimea were trying to sell their homes and return to Russia as soon as possible.
Newsweek contacted Russian officials for comment.
On Thursday, a host of a Russian public news channel urged the Russian leader to prepare a plan for nuclear strikes against NATO forces.
“Well, obviously now may be the time for us, I’ve said this before, to hold exercises to practice scenarios in which Russian tactical nuclear weapons are used. It’s just that when we encounter NATO nuclear blackmail, we shouldn’t be running around thinking about how to react,” host Igor Korochenko said. “I propose that a nuclear planning ground be set up under the aegis of the Security Council in order to…determine our aims and objectives, including the eventuality that we should react in this manner…which NATO critical infrastructures, which units and headquarters may be the target of a strike since we will soon receive a direct nuclear ultimatum from the NATO alliance.”