The United States will respond decisively to any Russian use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine and has explained to Moscow the “catastrophic consequences” it will face, National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said on Sunday.
The comments are the latest American warning after the veiled nuclear threat made by Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, when the Russian president also announced his country’s first military deployment since World War II.
“If Russia crosses that line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia. The United States will respond decisively,” Sullivan told an NBC program.
Sullivan did not describe the nature of the planned response, but said the United States had clarified to Moscow “in more detail exactly what that would mean.” Sullivan said the US has been in frequent and direct contact with Russia.
US President Joe Biden, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, accused Putin of making “open nuclear threats against Europe” in reckless disregard for nuclear non-proliferation responsibilities.
Russia is also holding a referendum in four regions of eastern Ukraine to annex territories it seized during the invasion launched in February. Ukraine and its allies called the referendums a farce designed to justify an escalation of the war.
By incorporating the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia areas into Russia, Moscow could portray the attacks to retake them as an attack on Russia itself, a warning to Ukraine and its western allies.
After suffering setbacks on the battlefield, Putin is mobilizing 300,000 troops and threatening to use “all available means” to protect Russia.
“This is not a bluff,” Putin said in comments seen on the world stage as a threat to the potential use of nuclear weapons.
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Translated to english by RJ983
From Brazil, by EBC News