US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin does not believe Moscow will use nukes in Ukraine despite threatening to do so if attacked, admitting though, that there are no checks on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Speaking of Russian threats of nuclear weapons in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria set to air Sunday, Austin dismissed as wholly unsuitable for a global superpower Putin’s warning that he’s willing to use nukes to defend Russia and its people.
Although Putin assured the world he was not “bluffing” about his willingness to use nukes, Austin sees no reason at the moment to believe in the Russian president’s nuclear saber-rattling despite Putin’s previous irresponsible decision to invade Ukraine,
He pointed out, however, that it was not the kind of thing that one would expect to hear from leaders of large countries with nuclear capability, admitting that the Russian president might, regardless, decide to use nuclear weapons.
The Biden administration has repeatedly warned Moscow against the use of nuclear weapons, threatening catastrophic consequences although it has so far been evasive about what exactly its response to a Russian nuclear strike would entail.
Hinting that the United States’ response would depend on the extent of what Moscow does, President Biden has merely warned that Russia would become an international “pariah.”
According to US officials commenting on the situation, such warnings are intentionally delivered vague and with the intent to create strategic ambiguity to keep Moscow on its toes about the response.
Echoing the official positions of the Biden administration and NATO on last week’s referendums in the occupied Ukrainian territories, the Pentagon chief also dismissed as illegal annexation claims that Putin made to Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics and the regions of Kherson and Zaporozhizhia that are now awaiting ratification by the Russian parliament.