US President Joe Biden said Thursday that it was the first time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis that there had been a “direct threat” of weapons as Russian officials hint at the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons.
President Biden suggested that the threat of weapons of mass destruction from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is real after his military suffered massive setbacks in Ukraine.
Speaking at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Biden said that it was the first time that there had been a “direct threat” of nuclear weapons being used ever since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Biden said.”
“We’ve got a guy I know fairly well,” Bide later said, offering his bluntest comments about Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He’s not joking when he talks about the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons, or biological, or chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming.”
Russia has faced a series of strategic setbacks on the battlefield in Ukraine, prompting its president to issue warnings of using tactical nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people,” Putin said in a televised national address, adding that he was not “bluffing.”
As Ukraine continues to retake territories occupied by Russia, US officials have warned for months of the possibility that Russia could use weapons of mass destruction. Biden’s remarks on the same matter marked the US government’s most stringent warnings.
President Biden challenged the Russian nuclear doctrine, warning that using a lower-yield tactical weapon could lead to global destruction. “I don’t think there is such a thing as the ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon,” Biden said. “We are trying to figure out what is Putin’s off-ramp. Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself where he does not only lose face but significant power?”
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also spoke about Putin’s nuclear threat. According to Zelenskyy, Putin understands quite well that the “world will never forgive” a Russian nuclear strike. “He understands that after the use of nuclear weapons, he would be unable anymore to preserve, so to speak, his life; I’m confident of that,” Zelenskyy said.