The morning after US President Joe Biden warned that the world faces the highest prospect of nuclear war in 60 years, a senior administration official says there has been no shift in US nuclear posture.
“We haven’t seen any indication of activity [from Russia] that would cause us to change our own nuclear deterrent posture,” the senior official said, adding that the US continues to monitor Russian military movements for any change in its nuclear stance.
While this official would not go so far as Biden in saying that the world faces the prospect of nuclear crisis for the first time since the 1960s, the official said that “the stakes are clearly higher right now” as a result of a string of military setbacks Russia is facing in Ukraine.
The official said Biden was speaking “frankly” based on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “irresponsible and reckless” rhetoric, but not based on any new information about Russia’s nuclear posture.
What Biden said Thursday night: During a Democratic fundraiser in New York, Biden delivered a stark warning about the dangers behind Putin’s nuclear threats as Moscow continues to face military setbacks in Ukraine.
“First time since the Cuban missile crisis, we have a direct threat of the use (of a) nuclear weapon if in fact things continue down the path they are going,” Biden warned. He added: “I don’t think there’s any such thing as the ability to easily (use) a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon.”
It was striking for the President to speak so candidly, particularly at a fundraiser, while his aides from the National Security Council to the State Department to the Pentagon have spoken in much more measured terms, saying they take the threats seriously but don’t see movement on them from the Kremlin.
CNN’s Sam Fossum, Kaitlan Collins and Paul LeBlanc contributed reporting to this post.