In recent weeks, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons if his country is attacked.
Putin said he sees Russia’s war with Ukraine as an ideological struggle between Russia and the West. As of last week, Russia had gained over 18% of Ukraine’s territory, including four regions annexed on Friday.
The US called the annexations a violation of international law and tightened sanctions on hundreds of individuals and companies linked to Russia.
The land gains could pave the way for nuclear action under the country’s nuclear doctrine, which allows a nuclear strike after “an aggression against the Russian Federation with conventional weapons in the event of an existential threat to the state.”
President Biden condemned the annexation last week, saying, “These actions have no legitimacy.” In a phone call with Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Tuesday, Biden reiterated US support for Ukraine.
“President Biden also reiterated the United States’ continued willingness to impose heavy costs on any person, company, or country that supports the alleged annexation of Russia,” the White House news release said.
The Biden administration also pledged an additional $625 million in military, security and technology assistance to Ukraine.
While Putin has maintained his stance on the seriousness of the nuclear threat, Western leaders remain skeptical.
“I would advise staying calm,” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said last month, adding that the region’s leaders are familiar with Putin’s rhetoric.
Alexander de Croo, Belgium’s prime minister, took a similar position.
“We must not add fuel to the fire,” he said. “We must be clear in our position and continue to support Ukraine.”
The Biden administration and US officials are also suspicious of Putin’s nuclear threats.
“We certainly haven’t seen anything that would prevent us from changing our own strategic deterrent posture or ability to defend our allies and partners on the European continent,” John Kirby, the National Security Council’s strategic communications coordinator, told MSNBC on Tuesday.
https://www.ibtimes.com.au/russia-ukraine-war-if-putin-uses-nuclear-weapons-how-would-us-respond-1839202?utm_source=Public&utm_medium=Feed&utm_campaign=Distribution If Putin uses nuclear weapons, how would the US react?