Nuclear ‘Armageddon’ risk highest since ’62 crisis

NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden mentioned Thursday that the risk of nuclear “Armageddon” is on the highest degree since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, as Russian officers talk of the potential of the use of tactical nuclear guns after struggling huge setbacks within the eight-month invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at a fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Biden mentioned Russian President Vladimir Putin was once “a guy I know fairly well” and the Russian chief was once “not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.”

Biden added, “We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.” He suggested the threat from Putin is real “because his military is — you might say — significantly underperforming.”

U.S. officers for months have warned of the chance that Russia may use guns of mass destruction in Ukraine because it has confronted a chain of strategic setbacks at the battlefield, despite the fact that Biden’s remarks marked the starkest warnings but issued through the U.S. govt in regards to the nuclear stakes.

It was once now not instantly transparent whether or not Biden was once relating to any new overview of Russian intentions. As not too long ago as this week, despite the fact that, U.S. officers have mentioned they have got noticed no alternate to Russia’s nuclear forces that will require a transformation within the alert posture of U.S. nuclear forces.

“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture, nor do we have indication that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre mentioned Tuesday.

The 13-day showdown in 1962 that adopted the U.S. discovery of the Soviet Union’s secret deployment of nuclear guns to Cuba is seemed through professionals as the nearest the arena has ever come to nuclear annihilation. The crisis all over President John F. Kennedy’s management sparked a renewed focal point on hands keep watch over on either side of the Iron Curtain.

Biden additionally challenged Russian nuclear doctrine, caution that using a lower-yield tactical weapon may briefly spiral out of keep watch over into world destruction.

“I don’t think there is any such a thing as the ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon,” Biden mentioned.

He added that he was once nonetheless “trying to figure” out Putin’s “off-ramp” in Ukraine.

“Where does he find a way out?” Biden requested. “Where does he in finding himself ready that he does now not now not most effective lose face however lose important energy inside of Russia?”

Putin has time and again alluded to the use of his nation’s huge nuclear arsenal, together with remaining month when he introduced plans to conscript Russian males to serve in Ukraine.

“I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction … and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin mentioned Sept. 21, including with a lingering stare on the digicam, “It’s not a bluff.”

White House nationwide safety adviser Jake Sullivan mentioned remaining week that the U.S. has been “clear” to Russia about what the “consequences” of the use of a nuclear weapon in Ukraine can be.

“This is something that we are attuned to, taking very seriously, and communicating directly with Russia about, including the kind of decisive responses the United States would have if they went down that dark road,” Sullivan mentioned.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy mentioned previous Thursday that Putin understood that the “world will never forgive” a Russian nuclear strike.

“He understands that after the use of nuclear weapons he would be unable any more to preserve, so to speak, his life, and I’m confident of that,” Zelenskyy mentioned.

Biden’s feedback got here all over a non-public fundraiser for Democratic Senate applicants on the Manhattan house of James and Kathryn Murdoch. He has a tendency to be extra unguarded — incessantly talking with simply tough notes — in such settings, which can be open most effective to a handful of journalists with out cameras or recording gadgets.

Miller reported from Washington.

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