The United States has directly warned Russia that there will be consequences if it uses nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed on Friday. Despite rising tensions between Washington and Moscow, the secretary assured that senior US officials maintain open lines of communication with Russian counterparts.
“We communicated very clearly and directly to Russia that there will be consequences for any use of nuclear weapons,” Blinken told a news conference in Washington with her French counterpart, Catherine Colonna. “We’ve been very clear that when we have something important to communicate to the Russians, we will. And indeed, we do,” she explained.
The US diplomat said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “comments” about the possible use of nuclear weapons were “the height of irresponsibility”. “This is something that we are monitoring very carefully and that we take very seriously because of what Russia has done in Ukraine,” Blinken said.
The Pentagon reported today that US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has asked Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu to keep the lines of communication open amid the war in Ukraine. The United States has previously emphasized the importance of keeping communication open to avoid accidental clashes with Russia in the military field, given the danger that they could lead to escalation.