The U.S. warned Russia at the weekend against the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine by threatening Moscow with “catastrophic consequences.”
In an interview on September 25th, U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan responded to Vladimir Putin’s promise to use any means necessary, including nuclear weapons, to protect Russian territory from Western forces.
In a televised press conference on September 21st, President Putin called for the mobilization of three hundred thousand more troops for the war against Ukraine. The news not only resulted in massive protests in Russia but also international outrage following Putin’s vow to attack Ukrainian allies.
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened,” Putin said, “we will, without doubt, use all available means to protect Russia and our people—this is not a bluff.”
The Russian leader then reiterated the statement after accusing the West of provoking Ukraine to attack Russian territory. “In its aggressive anti-Russian policy, the West has crossed every line,” Putin said. “This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them.”
Jake Sullivan spoke with George Stephanopoulos on the ABC news show This Week about the United State’s reaction to Putin’s threat.
This was the first time for Mr. Sullivan on the show. However, Stephanopoulos, a former co-host of Good Morning America, spoke to President Biden last year and invited the National Security Advisor this weekend to address the ever-escalating crisis.
U.S. warns of “catastrophic consequences” if Russia employs nuclear weapons
In a rush transcript of the ABC show, Sullivan explained the U.S. position should Putin make good on his threat.
STEPHANOPOULOS: How serious was the nuclear threat that Putin made this week, and how will President Biden respond if he makes good on it?
SULLIVAN: We’re taking it seriously. It’s not the first time President Putin has made a nuclear threat in this conflict. He started way back in February when Russian tanks first rolled across the border brandishing that nuclear card. And that has not deterred us from providing more than $15 billion in weapons to Ukraine, helping them be able to defend their country. And it will not deter us now…we have communicated directly, privately to the Russians, at very high levels, that there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia if they use nuclear weapons in Ukraine. We have been clear with them and emphatic with them that the United States will respond decisively, alongside our allies and partners, and we have protected those communications, which we have done privately to the Russians, but they well understand what they would face if they went down that dark road.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So that means taking the fight directly to Russia?
SULLIVAN: We have communicated to the Russians what the consequences would be, but we’ve been careful in how we talk about this publicly because, from our perspective, we want to lay down the principle that there would be catastrophic consequences, but not engage in a game of rhetorical tit for tat. So, the Russians understand where we are. We understand where we are. We are planning for every contingency. And we will do what is necessary to deter Russia from taking this step. And if they do, we will respond decisively.
National security adviser Jake Sullivan tells @GStephanopoulos that the U.S. has “communicated directly, privately to the Russians at very high levels that there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia if they use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.” https://t.co/WjkMx7W8gE pic.twitter.com/UA6ISv0M5a
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) September 25, 2022
Greece’s Prime Minister blasts Russia at the U.N.
Greece’s Prime Minister also blasted Russia for its war against Ukraine as well as its “weaponization of natural resources to cause pain [to] European societies and destabilize democratically elected European governments.” He joined the U.S. and other U.N. members on Friday, September 25th in expressing his concern over recent events in Ukraine.
“Russia’s invasion must not succeed,” Mitsotakis said. “Not only for the sake of Ukraine but also because it is imperative to send a clear message to other authoritarian leaders that open acts of aggression which violate international law shall not be tolerated by the global community of democratic states.”
Thousands of civilians have died since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and even more have fled their nation-state. The referendums in occupied parts of Ukraine have raised red flags due to their similarity to referendums leading to the annexation of Crimea.