After beginning a savage invasion of Ukraine in late February, the Russian tyrant has worried world leaders and diplomats with his more direct threats to use nuclear weapons.
A “deliberately ambiguous” statement that implied President Joe Biden was prepared with a spectrum of reactions, from serious physical threats to economic punishment, was part of any contingency plan the US would need, retired Brigadier General Mark Kimmitt said on CNN.
I believe that the public face of all of this is how we communicate with Russia about what we’re willing to do and what we’re not willing to do.
“In my opinion, we should be purposefully ambiguous in what we are willing to accomplish,”
Kimmitt advised against establishing a “red line” that demands a reaction.
When Biden was vice president, Barack Obama took such a move in 2013 in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons. The failure of the US military to punish the Assad Regime for it notably damaged the credibility of the then-foreign president’s policy.
The retired general added, “Anytime you draw a red line, it commits you to a certain course of action.”
“Look, I think it’s quite straightforward to lay out the possibilities. It could be the soft side of it, which is stepping up sanctions and export restrictions, or it could be anything in between, up to and including a nuclear reaction of our own.”
Putin’s warning of nuclear retaliation comes as Ukraine’s military launch an impressive counteroffensive that has freed regions of the nation that had been held prisoner by Russian soldiers for weeks.
The biggest nuclear reactor in Europe, Zaporizhzhia, is still under Russian control, raising concerns that a non-nuclear strike on the facility may end in a catastrophe of catastrophic proportions.
Moscow denies firing shells near the factory, as Kyiv has said.
Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, said on CBS News’ Face the Nation on Sunday that Putin’s nuclear threats were “not a bluff.”
“The place where the missile struck was 300 meters away from the nuclear facility.” In a recent assault on the facility, the nuclear plant “lost all the windows and doors, etc.,” according to Zelensky.
So, his goal is to frighten everyone on Earth. These are his nuclear blackmail’s first salvo.
I don’t believe he’s bluffing, he continued. I believe that the world is containing and discouraging this menace. We must keep up the pressure on him and forbid him from going on.
It happens in the midst of widespread international criticism of Moscow’s “fake” referendums in Russian-occupied areas of eastern Ukraine.
Residents have reportedly been pushed to the polls under threat of violence to cast their votes on whether to let Russia to annexe their home areas.
Putin made a nuclear power threat when approving an order annexing the areas, saying he would use it to block the West from supporting Ukraine there.