President Joe Biden is of the opinion that Vladimir Putin would not resort to the use of nuclear weapons.
In a stark change from his “nuclear Armageddon” warning last week, Biden, during an interview with the CNN, said, “I think he is a rational actor who has miscalculated significantly.”
When asked if Putin might resort to using a tactical nuclear weapon, Biden replied, “I don’t think he will.”
However, the president added, “I think it’s irresponsible for him to talk about it, the idea that a world leader of one of the largest nuclear powers in the world says he may use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine.”
Biden’s remarks during the interview were in contrast to a speech he delivered at a Democratic fundraiser Thursday night.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” he had said, according to Associated Press (AP), while adding the threat was real as “his military is — you might say — significantly underperforming.”
During the interview with CNN, Biden, however, refused to speak about America’s possible response if Moscow used nuclear weapons.
“I am not going to get into that. It would be irresponsible of me to talk about what we would or would not do,” he told CNN.
The statement by the United States’ president comes as Russian troops have faced a series of defeats in Ukraine over the last month.
Hours before the interview, Biden had virtually attended a meeting with G7 leaders. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was also part of the meeting, and emphasized Kyiv’s need to upgrade its air defense systems. Zelensky added Russia had launched more than 100 missiles and dozens of drones at Ukraine in the last two days.
Sergey Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, has previously clarified that Kremlin would use nuclear weapons only if it faced “imminent destruction,” AP reported.
Russia’s possible use of nuclear weapons has previously been denounced by alliances like NATO.
“Russia knows that a nuclear war can never be won and must never be fought,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said this week.
Stoltenberg added the alliance would carry out annual drills that test its readiness to respond to nuclear attacks. The exercise is scheduled for next week. He added calling off a “routine, longtime-planned exercise” would send the wrong signal.
NATO’s Nuclear Planning Group has also scheduled a meeting for Thursday.
NATO does not have its own nuclear weapons. The United States, United Kingdom and France are the only member states that individually possess the weapons.