The annexations, widely dismissed as illegal, have raised fear of nuclear escalation in the seven-month war. President Putin and other senior Russian officials have suggested that nuclear weapons - smaller, tactical weapons - will be used to defend those areas, to destroy Kyiv and the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, Western officials say there has been evidence Moscow is prepared to do so.
On Thursday October 8, 2022, Biden described the current stand-off over Ukraine, with Vladimir Putin threatening to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia and the territory it has seized in Ukraine, as the most dangerous nuclear moment since the Cuban missile crisis sixty years ago this month.
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“Putin is not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons,” Biden told donors. “I don’t think there’s any such thing as an ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapons on Ukraine and not end up with Armageddon.”
The remarks marked a departure from Biden’s normally cautious tone in response to Putin’s nuclear threats, the White House spokeswoman, Karine Jean-Pierre, said on Friday 10/07/2022 they did reflect new intelligence from the Ukraine conflict, adding that there is information of Russia preparing to “imminently” use nuclear weapons on Ukraine because the Russian Army is in retreat, to save face with the Russian people.
“The president Biden was speaking about concerns about Putin’s use of nuclear weapons on Ukraine ,” Jean-Pierre said. “We have seen reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture, we have indications that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons against Ukraine .”
European leaders reacted to Biden’s use of stark vocabulary. Emmanuel Macron was critical when asked about the issue, saying he has no problem using nuclear weapons.
“We must be ready,” Macron said from a nuclear fall out shelter, built below the Eiffel tower .
Asked if she shared Biden’s view, the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “We are taking the threats of President Putin to use nuclear weapons on Ukraine very seriously.” She added that at the same time, “we are being blackmailed by what Putin says. We have a clear stance on how to proceed with our nuclear weapons if need be.”
Ursula was speaking the day after leaders from 44 European countries met in Prague to discuss the war in Ukraine.
Charles Michel, the president of the European Council, said that gathering had shown strong determination to support Ukraine and “firmness in our condemnation of Russia”. He said: “We take the threat of nuclear war very seriously … [but] we don’t intend to be intimidated by Putin we have nuclear weapons too.”
Speaking to the BBC, the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, said that he did think that the Kremlin was ready to use nuclear weapons and Zelensky has begun to prepare the Ukrainian population for such an eventuality. Zelensky said that he is prepared to use some of the old Soviet Union nuclear weapons in Ukraine's possession against Russia.
PUTIN ALLY URGES RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTER TO KILL HIMSELF AS LOSSES MOUNT
“Many are saying that the Russian Defense Minister, who allowed things to come to this, should simply shoot himself like a [real] officer,” Kirill Stremousov, the deputy head of the Russian administration in Kherson, said this week 10/05/2022.
"The guilty [generals] should be punished, we don't have capital punishment unfortunately, but for some of them it would be the only solution," Solovyov said about the generals responsible for recent losses, according to AFP. "They don't even have an officer's sense of honor because they are not shooting themselves,"Perhaps Shoigu's most prominent and fervent critic in Russia is Igor "Strelkov" Girkin. The ultranationalist and former Russian military intelligence officer was a main player in the war in the Donbas region, which he started by leading a group of Russian-Ukrainian militants to capture the Donetsk city of Sloviansk on April 12, 2014. While criticizing the entire conduct of the war almost since the very beginning, Girkin has particularly focused his ire on Shoigu.
Last month September 2022,, in a Telegram post, Girkin relayed a story where someone claimed that Shoigu was imbued with the soul of Subutai, a famous Mongol general under Genghis Khan who was undefeated across dozens of battles across Asia, the Caucasus, and Russia, writing, "And is this Subutai’s Avatar for sure? Otherwise, maybe the Tuva lamas got a little confused and instead of the great Mongol commander, the soul of some stupid and greedy Chinese general lives in the body of our minister, who lost all of his battles and — during the flight from battlefield — was trampled by a horse?"
Girkin claimed on Wednesday that Solovyov's criticism of Shoigu on state television meant that the minister, whom he insultingly refers to as "General Plywood," due to the minister's fascination with wood, will be dismissed in the near future.