Moscow will face “horrific” consequences if it uses weapons of mass destruction, the top US diplomat warns
The administration of US President Joe Biden has a plan for reacting to the hypothetical use of nuclear arms by Russia, but will not reveal its details, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.
If Russia were to deploy atomic weapons on the battlefield, “the consequences would be horrific, and we’ve made that very clear,” Blinken said in an interview with the ‘60 Minutes’ program on CBS News on Sunday. He said the message has been communicated to the Russian leadership publicly and privately.
“I’m not going to get into what the consequences would be. Any use of nuclear weapons would have catastrophic effects for, of course, the country using them, but for many others as well,” he warned.
Blinken was commenting on last week’s remarks by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who accused the US and its allies of seeking to partition Russia and stated that Moscow will use all the tools at its disposal to prevent that outcome.
Biden responded by telling Putin not to use nuclear weapons and warned of unspecified consequences if such a strike occurs. Blinken stated that his government has a plan for such a scenario.
Blinken also urged Russia to prevent further escalation by withdrawing troops from Ukraine, saying: “If Russia stops fighting, the war ends. If Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine ends.”
Western nations continue to provide weapons to Ukraine, calling it a necessary measure to help Kiev defeat Russian forces on the battlefield. Washington has proclaimed a strategic defeat for Moscow as its goal in the crisis.
Putin said in his address last week that Russian forces were fighting against “the entire Western military machine” in Ukraine.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.
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