Thursday, June 13, 2024

Threat of Putin using tactical nuclear weapons ‘real’: Biden

In May, Russia dismissed Mr Biden’s criticism of its plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, saying the U.S. had deployed such nuclear weapons in Europe for decades.

• June 20, 2023
Biden Putin
U.S. President, Joe Biden and Russian President, Vladimir Putin

U.S. President Joe Biden says Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threat of using tactical nuclear weapons is “real,” days after denouncing Russia’s deployment of such weapons in Belarus.

On Saturday, Mr Biden called Mr Putin’s announcement that Russia had deployed its first tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus “absolutely irresponsible.”

“When I was out here about two years ago, saying I was worried about the Colorado river drying up, everybody looked at me like I was crazy,” Mr Biden told a group of donors in California on Monday.

“They looked at me like when I said I worry about Putin using tactical nuclear weapons. It’s real,” Mr Biden said.

Last week, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said his country had started taking delivery of Russian tactical nuclear weapons, some of which he said were three times more powerful than the atomic bombs the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

The deployment is Russia’s first move of such warheads – shorter-range, less powerful nuclear weapons that could be used on the battlefield – outside Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The United States had said it did not intend to alter its stance on strategic nuclear weapons in response to the deployment and has not seen any signs Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon.

In May, Russia dismissed Mr Biden’s criticism of its plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, saying the U.S. had deployed such nuclear weapons in Europe for decades.

The Russian deployment is being watched closely by the United States and its allies, as well as by China, which has repeatedly cautioned against using nuclear weapons in the war in Ukraine.


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