The United States has privately warned Russia of ‘catastrophic’ consequences if it uses nuclear weapons over the war in Ukraine, top US officials have confirmed.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US has sent private messages to ‘Russians at very high levels’ that Washington will ‘respond decisively’ to any use of nukes.
It comes after Vladimir Putin threatened the West with Armageddon over his failing war last week, falsely accusing NATO of plotting strikes on Russia and adding: ‘Those who try to blackmail us should know that winds can turn in their direction.’
‘We have been very clear with the Russians publicly, and, as well as privately, to stop the loose talk about nuclear weapons,’ Blinken told the CBS News program ’60 Minutes’ in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
‘It’s very important that Moscow hear from us and know from us that the consequences would be horrific. And we’ve made that very clear,’ Blinken said.
‘Any use of nuclear weapons would have catastrophic effects for, of course, the country using them, but for many others as well.’
Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, made clear that Russia would pay a high price if it made good on threats to use nuclear weapons in the conflict.
‘If Russia crosses this line there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia. The United States will respond decisively,’ he told NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday.
Washington’s message has been more detailed in private conversations with their Russian counterparts, he said, without elaborating.
‘So, the Russians understand where we are. We understand where we are. We are planning for every contingency’ he said in separate comments to ABC’s This Week. ‘And we will do what is necessary to deter Russia from taking this step.’