The risk of a nuclear „Armageddon” is at its highest level since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, US President Joe Biden has stated.
„For the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, we have a direct threat to the use of nuclear weapons, if in fact things continue down the path they’d been going”, Biden stated.
„We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”
In 1962, the US and the Soviet Union – under President John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev – came close to a nuclear showdown over the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons in Cuba.
During a speech last Friday, President Putin said the US had created a „precedent” by using nuclear weapons against Japan at the end of World War Two – a comment that would not have gone unnoticed by Western governments, our Russia editor Steve Rosenberg points out.
Putin has also threatened to use every means at his disposal to protect Russian territory.
Even as Putin signed the final papers formally annexing four regions of Ukraine – Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson – Kyiv’s forces were advancing inside those areas he had claimed. Hundreds of thousands of men have been fleeing Russia rather than wait to be drafted to fight in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously dismissed Moscow’s nuclear threats as a „constant narrative of Russian officials and propagandists”.
However, the US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan last week said that, despite Moscow’s nuclear hints, the US had seen no signs that Russia was imminently preparing to use a nuclear weapon.
Ukraine has been retaking territory occupied by Russia, including in the four regions Russia illegally annexed recently.
For several months US officials have been warning that Russia could resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction, if it suffers setbacks on the battlefield.
The confrontation is considered by many experts to be the closest the world has ever come to a full-scale nuclear war.