Putin Threatens Nuclear Assault
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced Sunday that he had placed Russian nuclear forces on high alert in response to Western economic sanctions. His move marked an escalation of tensions between Russia and the West over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Putin spoke with top military officials Sunday and ordered Russia’s nuclear forces to be placed on a “special regime of combat duty.” The full extent of what this move will entail is unclear however it will increase Russia’s readiness to deploy nuclear weapons.
Putin said the move comes in response to economic sanctions against Russia’s central bank and financial sector levied by the United States and European Union member states. NATO allies decided Saturday to remove Russia from SWIFT, a global financial partnership and messaging system.
“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 in televised comments.
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield condemned Putin’s actions as jeopardizing already precarious relations between Russia and the West.
“President Putin is continuing to escalate this war in a manner that is totally unacceptable,” Thomas-Greenfield said Sunday. “And we have to continue to condemn his actions in the strongest possible way.”