Pentagon chief warns 'no checks on Mr. Putin' amid nuclear threats




  • In World
  • 2022-10-02 20:05:23Z
  • By The Hill
 

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin's annexation of four Ukrainian regions, warning there is no one to stop him from following through on his recent threats of using nuclear weapons.

"To be clear, the guy who makes that decision - I mean it's one man, there are no checks on Mr. Putin," Austin told CNN's Fareed Zakaria. "Just as he made the irresponsible decision to invade Ukraine, he could make another decision. But I don't see anything right now that would lead me to believe that he has made such a decision."

Facing territorial losses from a Ukrainian counteroffensive primarily in the country's northeast, Putin last month announced Russia would call up 300,000 reservists to bolster their military effort and threatened the West with nuclear weapons, saying it is "not a bluff."

"This nuclear saber-rattling is not the kind of thing that we would expect to hear from leaders of large countries with capability," Austin said on CNN.

The United States has vowed a decisive response if Russia moves forward with using nuclear weapons, and Biden administration officials say they have laid out the potential consequences for the Kremlin in more detail privately.

Austin on Sunday said he did not personally deliver that message but had previously relayed U.S. concerns to Russia's defense minister, Sergei Shoigu.

"Personally, I have not talked to Shoigu in recent days, but I have talked to him in the past," Austin continued. "And I have addressed this very issue and warned to not go down this path and conduct this type of irresponsible behavior."

Since Putin's speech to the Russian people to call up the reservists, the country illegally annexed Ukraine's Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.

The land grab came after Russia said residents supposedly signed off on the move in a referendum, although the vote was condemned by U.S. officials and the West as a sham.

Ukrainian forces, bolstered by funding and equipment from the West, have continued to dig in. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky vowed that Russia will not take new Ukrainian territory.

Over the weekend, Ukrainian forces took the key transportation hub of Lyman, a city located in the Donetsk region among those now claimed by Russia.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to The Hill.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Ukraine Latest: NATO, Zelenskiy Say Russia Weaponizing Winter
Ukraine Latest: NATO, Zelenskiy Say Russia Weaponizing Winter
  • World
  • 2022-11-28 16:54:24Z

(Bloomberg) -- NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of using "winter as a weapon" as Ukraine's leader warned that the Kremlin...

Ukraine on edge for more attacks, West eyes humanitarian aid
Ukraine on edge for more attacks, West eyes humanitarian aid
  • World
  • 2022-11-28 11:21:03Z

Ukraine prepared for more Russian strikes on Monday and warned of the possibility for a new round of evacuations from the capital during a relative lull from...

This Is How the U.S. Totally Misjudged the War in Ukraine
This Is How the U.S. Totally Misjudged the War in Ukraine
  • World
  • 2022-11-28 09:42:52Z

Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty ImagesThe war in Ukraine isn't going the way Russian President Vladimir Putin expected. And he's certainly not the only ...

Kim Jong Un says North Korea
Kim Jong Un says North Korea's goal is for world's strongest nuclear force
  • US
  • 2022-11-26 21:30:47Z

SEOUL (Reuters) -North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said his country's ultimate goal is to possess the world's most powerful nuclear force, as he promoted...

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy compares Russian invasion to Stalin-era genocide:
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy compares Russian invasion to Stalin-era genocide: 'They want to destroy us again'

"They blocked the export of our food. They put the world on the brink of starvation. They provoked a food crisis," President Zelenskyy said of Russia.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: World