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US responds to Putin's nuclear threats and gives dictator advice

US responds to Putin's nuclear threats and gives dictator advice John Kirby, US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications (Getty Images)
Author: Maria Kholina

The US has responded to the Kremlin's threatening rhetoric, which announced plans to conduct military exercises involving nuclear weapons. In Washington, officials advised Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to withdraw troops from Ukraine if he fears Western military assistance to Kyiv, citing a statement by the coordinator of the US National Security Council on strategic communications, John Kirby.

Kirby said that if Putin and Russian officials are concerned that their troops in Ukraine may be hit by weapons made in other countries, the easiest way to avoid this is simply to withdraw their troops.

He noted that currently, the White House does not see any real steps from Russia regarding the possible use of nuclear weapons, despite the threats from the aggressor country.

"For the leader of a major nuclear power, it is simply reckless and irresponsible to brandish a nuclear arsenal and hint at its potential use. Obviously, we are monitoring this now and have been very carefully monitoring it before. I can tell you that so far we have not seen anything, even despite the reckless rhetoric, that would cause us to change our position of strategic restraint," Kirby emphasized.

In turn, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said that Washington currently sees no signs of Russia's probable use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine.

He added that Russian nuclear rhetoric has been reckless and irresponsible throughout the conflict, and that, despite everything, there's no grounds for adjusting US nuclear stance in response to those statements, as well as there are no signs that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Russian nuclear threats

Yesterday, the Russian Ministry of Defense reported that, at the instruction of President Vladimir Putin, the General Staff has begun preparations for exercises involving non-strategic nuclear weapons.

The Ministry of Defense, as well as Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov and Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, stated that the exercises would be a response to the so-called provocative statements and threats from certain Western officials. Allegedly, these actions were prompted by some statements by Western politicians regarding the dispatch of troops to Ukraine, as well as suggestions that the Armed Forces of Ukraine could use weapons provided by allies on the territory of the Russian Federation.

As commented to RBC-Ukraine by a military expert, such threats from the Kremlin are more like rattling the nuclear saber in an attempt to keep Europeans and Americans in a state of constant tension.

In turn, analysts at ISW pointed out that Russia has often used such threats during full-scale invasions of Ukraine to pressure the West into ceasing military support to Kyiv.

For more on why Russia is planning nuclear exercises, read the RBC-Ukraine coverage.