Washington: US President Joe Biden said Vladimir Putin would face a “consequential” US response if the Russian president used nuclear or chemical weapons in the war in Ukraine.
“Don’t. Don’t. Don’t,” Biden said in an excerpt from an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” when asked what he would say if Putin were considering using tactical nuclear weapons or chemical weapons in the almost seven-month-old conflict.
“You will change the face of war unlike anything since World War II.”
Biden declined to specify the possible consequences, saying that “the extent of what they do” would determine the response.
“Of course, I’m not going to tell you. It’ll be consequential,” Biden said. “They’ll become more of a pariah in the world than they ever have been. And depending on the extent of what they do will determine what response would occur.”
Biden’s full CBS interview will be broadcast on Sunday night.
Various Russian officials have issued veiled threats of nuclear escalation over Ukraine, including Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said in April there’s a “serious” risk of nuclear war. Days after invading Ukraine, Putin ordered his coun-try’s nuclear forces on high alert for the first time since the end of the Cold War.
More recently, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu told a security conference in Moscow on August 16 that Russia had no plans to use tactical nuclear or chemical weapons in Ukraine.
Ukraine has recaptured swaths of territory in the east from occupying Russian forces in recent weeks, boosted by heavy weapons supplied by Western allies.
And Moscow is facing fresh outrage from the West after the discovery of a mass grave outside the formerly Russian-occupied city of Izyum, where, Kyiv officials say, almost all of the exhumed bodies showed signs of torture.
But Putin remained steadfast, saying his war against Russia’s Western-leaning neighbor was proceeding according to plan.
“The plan is not subject to adjustment,” Putin said on Friday. “Our offensive operations in Donbas itself do not stop. They are going at a slow pace... The Russian army is occupying newer and newer territories.”