Russia-Ukraine war: ‘We take Putin’s nuclear threat seriously’ – US

The US has declared that it is treating Russian president Vladimir Putin’s threats to use nuclear weapons to defend land it will soon claim in Ukraine “seriously.”

John Kirby, a spokesman for the US Department of Defense, claimed that while the US was not altering its “strategic deterrent posture” against Russia, Putin had acted irresponsibly in stating that his nation would use all available means to defend its borders.

On September 21, Putin issued a warning as four Ukrainian districts that have been partially seized by Russian military were ready to hold referendums on joining Russia.

Moscow maintains that the referendum will provide Russian-speaking Ukrainians the chance to chose their own future, despite the fact that Ukraine and its supporters deem the ballots a sham exercise intended to legitimize an unlawful annexation.

“It is a dangerous precedent for Putin to be using this kind of rhetoric in the context of a war clearly that he’s losing inside Ukraine,” National Security Council spokesman Kirby said

“We have to take these threats seriously and we do… We’ve been monitoring, as best we can, his nuclear capabilities, I can tell you that we don’t see any indication that we need to change our strategic deterrent posture at this point.”

Kirby dismissed plans for Russia to annex further parts of Ukraine as “nothing more than a ploy by Vladimir Putin to try to gain… through politics and electoral issues, that which he cannot gain militarily”.

“But it’s not going to work,” he said. “No one’s going to recognise it. And what needs to happen is Mr Putin needs to leave Ukraine. He needs to stop this war.”

In his speech on Wednesday, Putin also announced a call-up for 300,000 reservists in a move analysts say is a sign that Russia’s forces in Ukraine are struggling to hold on to the strip of territory they occupy in the east and south.

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