The head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) weighed in on recent warnings by Russian officials about the use of nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict.
“We have to take it very seriously [any] It’s kind of a threat, given that everything is at stake,” said CIA Director William Burns. CBS news this week.
However, Burns said: [Moscow] We are getting closer to the actual use of nuclear weapons. There was also no “imminent threat of using tactical nuclear weapons” in the months-long war in Ukraine, he added.
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested in a speech that all weapons in Russia’s arsenal could be used if its territory was threatened.
Putin did not specifically call for the use of nuclear weapons, but other Russian officials have made it more explicit, including former President Dmitry Medvedev and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov.
what was said
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will definitely use all necessary means to defend Russia and our people. He said before the residents of the region voted in a referendum to join the Russian Federation.
The Russian president made these statements in the context of authorizing the partial mobilization of reserve forces during the Ukrainian war. On Tuesday, Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu was quoted by the RIA news agency as saying he had called up more than 200,000 of his 300,000 reservists that Russia had so far planned.
Describing nuclear-themed rhetoric as “reckless and wildly irresponsible,” Burns told CBS News it was “very hard to say at this point whether nuclear weapons would be deployed if Russian territory were threatened.” ” he said.
But late last month, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov denied claims that Russia wanted to use nuclear weapons.
“We are not threatening anyone with nuclear weapons,” he said. report By state media.
Earlier on Tuesday, the upper house of Russia’s parliament voted to approve the annexation of four regions, which together account for about 18% of Ukraine, to Russia. The Kremlin said the final stage of the process, Putin’s signature, is likely later in the day.
In Brussels, the European Union summoned Russia’s ambassador to the EU to reject Moscow’s “illegal annexation” and demand the unconditional withdrawal of all troops from all of Ukraine.
In the biggest breakthrough in the south since the war began seven months ago, Ukrainian forces advanced along the strategic Dnipro river on Monday and recaptured several villages, Ukrainian officials said. The leader Russia has stationed in the region said.
In the east, Ukrainian forces are stepping up their offensive after capturing a key Russian fortress north of the Lyman town of Donetsk hours after Putin declared the annexation of the province last week.
Russian-installed leader Vladimir Sardo in the occupied territories of Ukraine’s Kherson province told Russian state television that Ukrainian forces had recaptured the southern town of Dutchany along the western bank of the Dnipro River, which bisects the country.
Reuters contributed to this report.