Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the country’s nuclear deterrent forces to an elevated status Sunday following what he termed “aggressive statements” from NATO and its sanctions against Russia.
“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country,” Putin said in a televised broadcast.
Fox News reported:
Putin ordered the Russian defense minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a “special regime of combat duty.” The move signals tensions could boil over into a nuclear war.
“He is right now threatening a nuclear escalation,” said former DIA intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler. “This a veiled threat – or maybe such a veiled threat – he just met with his chief of general staff and minister of defense. He is escalating the conflict into the nuclear domain in order to de-escalate – that is topple Kyiv’s regime quickly.”
The Russian leader’s move to raise its alert level prompted the country’s military to prepare nuclear weapons for potential launch, marking the second time in recent days that Russia has escalated its aggressive stance against the United States and its allies in NATO.
As detailed by Daily Wire, Putin made a veiled threat of escalation when he warned that “consequences you have never seen” would be visited on any country that attempted to intervene militarily in Ukraine.
Speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield stated, “It means that President Putin is continuing to escalate this war in a manner that is totally unacceptable and we have to continue to stem his actions in the strongest possible way.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg responded to Russia’s nuclear elevation, stating, “This is dangerous rhetoric. This is behaviour which is irresponsible. That’s the reason why we both provide support to Ukraine but also why we over the last weeks and months have significantly increased the presence of NATO in the eastern part of the alliance.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the United States and its allies moved to cut off certain Russian banks from SWIFT, the global banking network. The countries also issued a statement condemning Russia’s actions and vowed to stand with Ukraine, stating they were ready to take further measures.
“We stand with the Ukrainian people in this dark hour. Even beyond the measures we are announcing today, we are prepared to take further measures to hold Russia to account for its attack on Ukraine,” the countries stated.