The White House has avoided harsh reaction to President Vladimir V. Putin’s claim that he is putting Russia’s nuclear forces on alert, seeing it as another example of Putin’s moves to shape pose a threat and escalate confrontation with the West.
Officials are still debating whether to change the status of US nuclear forces. But for now, according to two government officials, they are trying to avoid being drawn into a spiral of escalation, with the position that U.S. nuclear forces are on a persistently low level of vigilance to deter Russia’s use of nuclear weapons. use nuclear weapons.
Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Sunday after Putin issued the warning: “Russia has never been threatened by NATO at any point. “We are capable of defending ourselves.”
But a longer-term US response will almost certainly depend on what Russia’s nuclear forces do over the next few days, as the commanders of Russia’s strategic forces try to demonstrate that they are responding. Putin’s vague order, given to the camera, to move “Russia’s deterrence force” to “special combat readiness”.
Both countries have varying degrees of alertness and it is unclear how the force will translate Putin’s words.
A huge nuclear detector run by the United States and its allies keeps an eye on Russia’s nuclear forces, and experts say they wouldn’t be surprised to see Russian bombers in action. from the hangar and loaded with nuclear weapons or nuclear-armed submarines. leave the port and set sail.
Both Russia and the US conduct exercises that repeat different levels of nuclear alert, so the weapons of these moves are well understood by both sides. Deviations from practice will almost certainly be noticeable.
Nuclear forces on the ground – intercontinental ballistic missiles kept in silos by both nations – are at the ready, underpinning a “joint destruction” strategy that avoids exchanges nuclear exchange even during the most intense times of the Cold War.
Mr. Putin’s decision to put forces on alert amid unusual tensions over the Ukraine invasion is highly unusual – and an escalation for the Russian leader, who on several occasions over the past week has reminds the world of the size and scope of Russia’s nuclear arsenal. A few days ago, he warned the US and NATO powers to stay out of the Ukraine conflict, adding that “the consequences will be like you’ve never seen in your entire history.”
Russia and the US are limited to 1,550 deployed strategic weapons under the remaining major nuclear treaty, New START. Both sides have smaller tactical weapons designed for use on the battlefield, although the Russians have a much larger stockpile.
Until last week, the two nations had been meeting regularly to discuss new arms control regimes, including reviving the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which President Trump abandoned last week. 2019. But last week the US said it was suspending those talks, known as the “Strategic Stability Dialogue.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/27/world/europe/us-putin-nuclear-alert.html US rebuts Putin’s nuclear warning as another attempt to escalate