Russian President Vladimir Putin has brought the world closer to nuclear Armageddon than at any point since the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Biden warned Thursday night.
In remarks at a New York City fund-raiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the commander-in-chief referenced the 1962 showdown between the U.S. and Soviet Union.
"We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since [former President John] Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis," Biden said.
He added that Putin was "not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons."
Putin, 70, and Russian officials have been threatening to use nukes since suffering numerous setbacks in their invasion of Ukraine, which began Feb. 24. The Kremlin macho man has vowed to use nuclear weapons if Russian territory is in danger.
Biden, describing Putin as "a guy I know fairly well," suggested that the Russian military's recent struggles might prompt Putin to go nuclear.
"His military is - you might say - significantly underperforming," Biden said.
He also said the Russian threats shouldn't be underestimated because Kremlin officials have been talking about lower-yield tactical nukes.
"I don't think there is any such a thing as the ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon," Biden said.
Putin recently called up hundreds of thousands of reserve troops - a move that led to droves of Russians fleeing the country.
The Kremlin recently staged "elections" in four Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, in which people were invited to "vote" on whether they wanted to join Russia. The forced ballot was widely condemned by the international community.
Putin signed off on the annexation on Wednesday. If Ukrainian forces push into the occupied regions of their own country - Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia - the Russian strongman could conceivably use their advance as an excuse for a nuclear attack, observers noted.
With News Wire Services