(The Hill) – President Joe Biden called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s frequent references to nuclear weapons “very dangerous,” hours after Putin claimed he had no intention of using such a weapon.
“If he has no intention, why does he keep talking about it?” Biden told Reshad Hudson with News 2’s parent company, Nexstar, in an exclusive interview. “Why does he talk about the ability to use a tactical nuclear weapon? He’s been very dangerous in how he’s approached this. He can end this all, get out of Ukraine.”
Putin earlier Thursday said at a gathering of foreign policy experts that it was not in Russia’s interests to use a tactical nuclear weapon.
“We see no need for that,” Putin said. “There is no point in that, neither political, nor military.”
Putin has repeatedly raised the specter of using nuclear weapons, highlighting Russia’s nuclear capabilities in response to any potential threats from the West.
In a speech last month announcing the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of troops to fight in Ukraine, Putin said Moscow was prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend any of its territory, accusing the U.S. and its allies of “nuclear blackmail” and moving to “destroy” his country.
Russian officials have also accused Ukraine of preparing to use a “dirty bomb,” which Ukrainian officials deny. U.S. officials have warned Russia has a history of accusing others of what it is prepared to do itself.
Still, Biden administration officials have said the U.S. sees no evidence Russia is imminently going to use a chemical or tactical nuclear weapon, nor does it see any reason to change its nuclear posture.
Biden has repeatedly warned Russia against the use of any type of nuclear weapon in its war against Ukraine, saying the consequences would be catastrophic without explicitly laying out how the United States would respond.