Washington privately urges Moscow to end nuclear threat

Washington privately urges Moscow to end nuclear threat

The United States has, through private channels, urged Russia to end its rhetoric about the nuclear threat in the war in Ukraine, a weapon whose use, Washington warns, would have “catastrophic” consequences.

“We have made it clear to the Russians, publicly and privately, that they should stop talking about nuclear weapons,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in an interview with CBS News that aired Sunday.

“It is very important that Moscow hears us and knows that the consequences would be terrible. And we made that very clear,” emphasized the Foreign Minister. “Any use of nuclear weapons would of course have catastrophic consequences for the country using them, but also for many others.”

The White House National Security Advisor had previously warned of the “catastrophic” consequences if Moscow uses nuclear weapons.

“We have the ability to speak directly at a high level[to the Russians]to tell them clearly what our message is and to hear theirs,” Jake Sullivan also said on NBC.

“It has happened a lot in the last few months, it has even happened in the last few days,” he said, without wanting to specify the exact type of communication channels used to “protect them”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a televised address on September 21, 2022 (KREMLIN.RU/AFP/Archives – Handout)

On Wednesday, Vladimir Putin alluded to the atomic bomb in a televised speech, saying he was ready to use “all the means” in his arsenal against the West, which he accused of wanting to “destroy” Russia. “This is not a bluff,” assured the Russian President.

Washington has repeatedly warned of the possible use of nuclear weapons by Moscow, using increasingly harsh vocabulary.

Questioned on September 16, before the Russian president impliedly waved that threat, Joe Biden had sent this message: “Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Not seen like this since World War II.”

– Russian military doctrine –

He had warned that the American response would be “consistent” but without further detail.

Washington had previously said it was taking the threat “seriously” and promised a “serious” response.

Russia and the United States are the world’s largest nuclear powers.

Yars ICBMs are displayed during the military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2022 (AFP/Archives - Alexander NEMENOV)
Yars ICBMs are displayed during the military parade in Moscow on May 9, 2022 (AFP/Archives – Alexander NEMENOV)

Russian military doctrine permits the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield to force an enemy to retreat.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, invited to a press conference at the United Nations on Saturday to clarify President Putin’s remarks, replied that the Moscow Doctrine was “a public document”.

But Russian military doctrine also envisages the possibility of resorting to nuclear strikes when attacking areas considered Moscow-owned, which could soon apply to Ukraine’s regions, which have been hosting referenda on annexation since Friday.

These elections, dubbed by Kyiv and its Western allies as a “simulacra” with no legal value, will take place in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which form the Donbass mine basin, in eastern Ukraine, as well as in the occupied territories of Kherson and Zaporizhia, in the south of the country.

For his part, Volodymyr Zelensky told CBS he takes very seriously his Russian counterpart’s threats based on the strikes he accuses Moscow of being carried out near the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the world’s largest.

“So he wants to scare the whole world,” argued the Ukrainian president. “These are the first steps of his nuclear blackmail. I don’t think he’s bluffing.”

Nuclear weapons have been used twice in history, in 1945 when the United States destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing more than 200,000 people. Imperial Japan surrendered days later, ending World War II.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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