When asked if Americans should be afraid of the US getting into a nuclear war with Russia, President Biden adamantly answered, “No.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has directed his military to move to heightened readiness to launch nuclear weapons because of “aggressive statements” he alleges have been made by NATO countries.
“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.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in response that “we think provocative rhetoric like this regarding nuclear weapons is dangerous, adds to the risk of miscalculation, should be avoided and [we] will not indulge in it.”
“We are assessing President Putin’s directive and at this time see no reason to change our own alert levels,” Psaki added.
When asked if the US is doing anything to reduce the risk of nuclear war, Psaki answered, “What we are trying to do is reduce the tension, take the tenor of the rhetoric down and make clear that we have seen this pattern in the past, which is … suggesting through misinformation of sorts that there are threats posed to President Putin in Russia that don’t exist.”
Still, a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found that 63 percent of Americans were “concerned that Russia may use nuclear weapons” if NATO attempted to intervene in the conflict.
Nearly three-quarters of Democrats (74 percent) said they were worried about nuclear war, compared to 65 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of independents.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, a key Putin ally, claimed Sunday that sanctions against Russia could cause a third world war — even though the US has not yet targeted key Russian industries, such as oil and gas exports.
“A great deal is being said about the banking sector. Gas, oil, SWIFT,” Lukashenko said. “It’s worse than war. Russia is being pushed towards a third world war. We should be very reserved and steer clear of it. Because nuclear war is the end of everything.”
After initially announcing limited sanctions last week, the White House over the weekend imposed additional sanctions targeting Putin’s vast personal wealth while cutting Russian banks out of the SWIFT international transaction system.