(CNSNews.com) – In an informal exchange with reporters after receiving his COVID shot on Tuesday, President Biden warned Russia not to detonate a nuclear weapon in Ukraine:
A reporter asked the president about Russia’s allegations that Ukraine is planning to use a dirty bomb, when it’s actually Russia that may be planning to do so.
“Do you believe that this is the beginning of a false-flag operation?” the reporter asked Biden: “Is Russia preparing to deploy a dirty bomb itself or a nuclear weapon?”
“I — I spent a lot of time today talking about that,” Biden said. “Let me just say: Russia would be making an incredibly serious mistake for it to use a tactical nuclear weapon.
“I’m not guaranteeing you that it’s a false-flag operation yet; I don’t know. But it would be a serious, serious mistake.”
Also on Tuesday, a Defense Department spokesman said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has “spoken twice” since last Friday with the Russian defense minister to “keep the lines of communication open in order to manage escalation and prevent potential miscalculation.”
Spokesman Pat Ryder told reporters that “from a U.S. standpoint, the allegations that Ukraine is building a dirty bomb are false. We have not seen at this time, though any indication, that Russia has made a decision or intends to employ nuclear weapons or a dirty bomb, but — but again, it’s something that we’ll continue to watch closely.
“And certainly, as others have said, there would be consequences for Russia, whether it uses a nuclear weapon or a dirty bomb. So, we’ll continue to keep the lines of communication open. And in the meantime, our focus from a department of defense standpoint will continue to be on supporting Ukraine.”
A reporter asked Ryder if the consequences for Russia using nukes have been conveyed directly to the Russians:
“I think that the U.S. government writ large has communicated to Russia the concerns that we have with the language that we’ve seen the — the nuclear saber rattling, as well as condemning these false allegations that Ukraine is building a dirty bomb, in terms of what those consequences may be. I’m not going to get into that.
“But needless to say, that has been communicated at a variety of levels.”
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