McCaul, Rogers, Turner: Biden must act to deter Russia from using nukes

Republican foreign policy, military and intelligence lawmakers are sounding the alarm over what they are doing with Russia’s nuclear saber, calling on President Biden to leverage ‘every tool of national power “to deter the Kremlin from nuclear aggression amid the clash over Ukraine.

Representatives Michael T. McCaul of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama and Mike Turner of Ohio said in a letter to Mr. Biden on Friday that recent public statements by Russian officials suggest the Kremlin is considering the use of weapons nuclear weapons as “an acceptable option to achieve their malicious and illegal objectives in Europe.

“Such threats are unprecedented and reminiscent of the rhetoric of Russian leaders at the height of the Cold War,” wrote the lawmakers, who are the most senior members of the House Foreign Affairs, Armed Services and Intelligence Committees. . “They are scary and should be taken seriously.”

“The United States cannot be a passive spectator as Russia uses nuclear intimidation,” they wrote.

Moscow has repeatedly made veiled threats that it is ready to use its vast nuclear arsenal since its invasion of Ukraine, particularly targeting countries such as the United States and its NATO allies for helping to arm Kyiv in combat.

Russian President Vladimir Putin placed Russia’s nuclear forces on heightened alert in late February in response to “hostile economic actions” and “aggressive statements” by Western countries just days after the war began and senior Russian officials made subsequent threats as the war dragged on. .

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters in Moscow earlier this month that the Biden administration was “deliberately and diligently pouring oil on the fire” by sending weapons to Ukraine.

The day before, a pro-Putin hawkish Russian lawmaker threatened on state television that the Russian military could destroy “the entire east coast of the United States”.

“Four missiles and there will be nothing left,” said Alexei Zhuravlev. “They think the mushroom cloud will be bigger than a skyscraper. This mushroom cloud will be visible from Mexico.

In a New York Times op-ed last month, Mr. Biden flatly rejected threats from some voices in Mr. Putin’s regime that Washington risked a nuclear escalation if it continued to arm Ukraine in the fighting.

“I know many people around the world are concerned about the use of nuclear weapons,” Biden wrote. “We currently see no indication that Russia intends to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, although Russia’s occasional rhetoric to shake the nuclear saber is itself dangerous and extremely irresponsible.”

Mr Biden said Moscow would face “serious consequences” if it employed nuclear weapons “on any scale”.

In their letter on Friday, the lawmakers said Mr Biden’s warning to the Kremlin in the editorial was “insufficient”.

“In our view, all tools of national power should be used to deter Russian nuclear aggression,” they wrote.

Lawmakers have urged Mr. Biden to clarify U.S. policy toward Russia’s use of tactical nuclear weapons.

“If Russia uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine, the United States must act,” the lawmakers wrote. “This must be clear to Russia in order to deter its use of nuclear weapons in this unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine.”

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Post expires at 12:01am on Wednesday June 29th, 2022