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US ‘increasingly Concerned’ About Russia’s Tactical Nuclear Threats Amid War

“We have grown increasingly concerned about the potential as these months have gone on,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby.



White House on Wednesday expressed concerns about Russia's repeated rhetorics about deploying a nuclear arsenal amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. “We have grown increasingly concerned about the potential as these months have gone on,” said White House national security spokesman John Kirby at a press conference on Wednesday, Nov 2. Kirby was referring to the new US intelligence that the top defence officials in Moscow convened to discuss when and how to use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine. This has heightened the concerns in Washington and allied nations. Russia's President Vladimir Putin did not take part in the nuclear dialogue. 

Nuclear deterrence: A matter of worry

Kirby remarked on the recent high-level Russian military officials meeting on nuclear arsenal deployment, saying that it is a matter of worry how far Russia would go during the course of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Speaking to the reporters at the White House, Kirby said any comments on the use of nuclear weapons by Russia in Ukraine are “deeply concerning." The United States takes such reports seriously, he stressed. US National Security spokesman evoked Russia's president Putin's remarks made previously about the use of nuclear weapons as he referenced the atomic bombing by the US forces on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II.

“We take note of that,”Kirby said. “It increasingly is unsettling in terms of the degree to which he feels he has to continue to stretch to prosecute this war,” he continued. 

Upping the nuclear rhetoric just recently, Russia's former president and senior security council official Dmitry Medvedev warned that Ukraine's attempts of reclaiming back the annexed territories will invoke nuclear deterrence in Moscow. He threatened the use of a nuclear arsenal saying that counter-military efforts to recapture the regions of Donbass and 2014 annexed Crimea would be a “threat to the existence of our state" and will prompt a response. Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, although, launched an attack on the US saying that the West was “deliberately pumping up the topic of the use of nuclear weapons.” 

Russia has also been warning the Pentagon against accelerating its plans of stockpiling the upgraded B61-12 gravity bombs in Europe under its NNSA’s B61-12 Life Extension Plan. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told the state-affiliated press that Moscow will "take into account in its military planning the modernization of US nuclear bombs" that the US plans to deploy in European countries, adding that it would lead to military escalation. "We cannot but notice plans to modernize nuclear weapons, those free-fall bombs that are in Europe. The United States is modernizing them, increasing their accuracy and reducing the power of a nuclear charge, that is, they are turning these weapons into a 'battlefield weapon', thereby reducing the nuclear threshold," the diplomat said. 

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