NATO member wants ‘devastating’ retaliation against Russia
NATO’s response to any use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia in Ukraine must be “devastating” but only employ conventional arms, as Moscow’s threat is not directed at the bloc, Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau has said.
“To the best of our knowledge, Putin is threatening to use tactical nuclear weapons on Ukrainian soil, not to attack NATO, which means that NATO should respond in a conventional way,” Rau claimed during his Wednesday’s appearance on NBC News program Meet the Press.
“But the response should be devastating. And I suppose this is the clear message that the NATO alliance is sending to Russia right now,” the minister pointed out.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that “the consequences would be horrific” for Russian if it uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine, adding that this message has already been communicated to the Russian leadership publicly and privately.
The warning followed an address by Vladimir Putin a week ago, in which he announced partial mobilization in Russia and slammed “some senior officials in NATO states” for suggesting that deploying nuclear weapons against Russia was justified.
The President made it clear that such a move won’t be left unanswered by Russia, reminding that it has its own arsenal of destructive weapons, some of which surpass their Western-counterparts. “If the territorial integrity of our nation is threatened, we will certainly use all the means that we have to defend Russia and our people. It’s not a bluff,” Putin stated.
Over the past week, the US and allies have increased intelligence gathering and surveillance over concerns that signs that Russia decides to deploy nukes could “come too late,” Politico reported on Tuesday.
According to US officials, who talked to the outlet, air, space and cyberspace monitoring of Russian units in Ukraine that could potentially receive the nuclear order from the Kremlin has been stepped up, with special attention also being paid to Russia’s western exclave of Kaliningrad.
Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergey Ryabkov reiterated last week that “we are not threatening anyone with nuclear weapons.” He referred the journalists to the Russian military doctrine, which states that nuclear weapons may only be employed if such arms or other weapons of mass destruction are being targeted at the country or its being faced with an existential threat from conventional arms.