U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday night compared Russian President Vladimir Putin’s alleged threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine to the potential “Armageddon” of the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
Speaking to Democrat donors, Biden invoked the specter of the Cuban missile crisis while remarking on the state of the Russia–Ukraine war, as Ukraine’s forces recapture more territory in the country’s south.
Biden said that he and U.S. officials are trying to work out a diplomatic “off-ramp” for Putin as Russia’s invasion is characterized as unraveling.
“We’re trying to figure out what is Putin’s off-ramp … Where does he find a way out? Where does he find himself in a position he does not, not only lose face, but lose significant power in Russia,” Biden said.
The president warned that Putin wasn’t joking when he spoke about the tactical use of nuclear weapons in September, calling it the biggest nuclear threat since the October 1962 Cuban missile crisis.
“[Putin’s] not joking when he talks about [the] potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, is significantly under-performing,” Biden said.
Biden said that “for the first time since the Cuban missile crisis, we have a direct threat to the use of nuclear weapons” if things continue “down the path” they’re going.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” he added.
The Cuban missile crisis was a 35-day standoff in October 1962 between the Soviet Union and the United States, which came close to using nuclear weapons in response to the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.
What Putin Said
While Putin’s remarks in September suggested that Russia would use all weapons in its arsenal against Ukraine in order to defend its territorial integrity, he did not specifically call for using nuclear weapons.
In his speech, Putin said: “If the territorial integrity of our nation is threatened, we will certainly use all the means that we have to defend Russia and our people. It’s not a bluff.”
Biden’s assessment on Thursday night appears to be at odds with both the U.S. Intelligence Community and previous statements made by the White House.
The White House has said repeatedly that it has seen no indication that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons in its conflict with Ukraine despite what it calls Putin’s nuclear saber-rattling.”
CIA Director William Burns told CBS News that while they take Putin’s comments “very seriously,” the Intelligence Community saw no “practical evidence” that Moscow “is moving closer to actual use” of nuclear weapons.
There is also no “imminent threat of using tactical nuclear weapons” in the seven-month-long Ukraine war, he added.
But Biden’s comments on Thursday indicate he is keeping an eye on Putin in light of Ukraine’s military making gains against Russian invaders.
Biden made his remarks at the home of businessman James Murdoch, the son of billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch, in a bid to boost his party’s chances at the November midterms.
From The Epoch Times