Vladimir Putin’s warning that Russia would not hesitate to use “various weapons of destruction,” as well as former leader Dmitry Medvedev’s more clear threat that Russia has the right to use nuclear weapons to defend its borders, has heightened tensions.

Several Western generals and top officers have made a series of strong statements about the threat of nuclear weapons.

The White House’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, told American reporters on Sunday that the Russian president’s nuclear warnings are “a matter that we have to take deadly seriously.”

The top adviser said, “We have communicated directly, privately, at very high levels to the Kremlin that any use of nuclear weapons will be met with catastrophic consequences for Russia, that the United States and our allies will respond decisively, and we have been clear and specific about what that will entail.”


Former CIA director David Petraeus also made strong statements about Putin’s nuclear threats.

According to Petraeus, if Putin uses nuclear weapons, the US and its allies would destroy Russia’s military forces in Ukraine and sink its Black Sea fleet.

Speaking to reporters recently, Mr. Petraeus said, “Just to give you a hypothetical, we would respond by leading a NATO – a collective – effort that would take out every Russian conventional force that we can see and identify on the battlefield in Ukraine and also in Crimea and every ship in the Black Sea.”

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When asked if Russia’s use of nuclear weapons would be interpreted as an attack on NATO members, Mr. Petraeus responded, “one can make that case.”

“The other case is that this is so horrific that there has to be a response, so cannot go unanswered,” he said, adding that Nato allies should not respond by deploying their own nuclear weapons. “But it does not expand. It is not nuclear for nuclear. You don’t get into a nuclear escalation here but you have to show that this cannot be accepted in any way.”


He did, nevertheless, conclude that Russia is “losing” in Ukraine and that Mr. Putin’s “battlefield reality” is “irreversible.”

The remarks came as Moscow troops retreated from Lyman, a crucial metropolitan area in Ukraine’s Donetsk region, merely nights after declaring the annexation of four areas of the war-torn nation via fake referenda that Ukraine slammed as a “propaganda show.”

The former general commended President Volodymyr Zelensky for rallying forces “better than Russia,” adding that Ukraine “recruited… trained, equipped, organised, and employed forces incomparably better than Russia has.”

Ben Wallace, the United Kingdom’s defense secretary, took a approach different from his American counterparts on Putin’s threats.

Putin is “highly unlikely” to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict, but he is not acting rationally, according to Wallace, who made these comments at a recent press conference.

He argued Mr Putin “was given a very clear sense of what is acceptable and unacceptable” in conversations with the Chinese and Indian leaders.


Even so, the actions of the Russian president and his government, from the Salisbury nerve agent attack to the invasion of Ukraine, according to Mr. Wallace, were “totally irrational.”

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