President Biden issued a remarkable warning on Thursday night that recent threats from Russian President V. Putin could turn into a nuclear conflict, telling supporters at a rally donated in New York City that the risk of atomic war has not been high since. The Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
“We haven’t faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Biden told a crowd. at the second of two fundraisers he attended on Thursday night.
“We’re trying to figure out: Where is Putin’s end?” Mr. Biden said, adding: “Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself with not only a loss of face, but considerable power? “
The president’s warnings, delivered bluntly to a group of Democratic donors rather than in a series of official remarks, came as Analysts in Washington debated whether Putin could use tactical nuclear weapons to counter his growing military losses in Ukraine.
In an angry and fiery speech last week, Putin raised the specter of using nuclear weapons to preserve his territorial interests in the war. Even as Ukraine quickly regained its position, Mr Putin said he would use “all available means” to defend Russian territory – which he has claimed now includes four provinces of eastern Ukraine that Russia illegally annexed recently.
Mr. Putin said in that speech that the atomic bombs that the United States dropped on Japan in 1945 had “set a precedent”.
Comments by him and others by top Russian leaders show that for the first time since 1962, Moscow officials have made explicit nuclear threats.
Officials in Washington have offered scenarios in which Putin might decide to use tactical nuclear weapons to make up for the Russian military’s failures in Ukraine, but they say Putin’s likely use use of nuclear weapons remains low. . At the end of February, Mr. Putin call on its nuclear forces to be on alertbut there is no evidence that they did so.
Tactical weapons come in many sizes and types, most of which are a fraction of the destructive power of the bombs the US dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. But they are difficult to use and difficult to control. On Thursday, Mr. Biden said he did not think it was possible that Russia would use tactical weapons and “wouldn’t end up with Armageddon.”
“We have someone I know pretty well,” Biden said of Putin at one of the fundraisers. “He’s not joking when he talks about the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because of his military which you would say is considerably less effective.”
In late September, Mr. Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said that any use of nuclear weapons will lead to “catastrophic consequences .”“As for Russia, it added that in private conversations with Moscow, the United States “spelled out” how the US and the world would react.