The officers stated they haven’t seen any indication — resembling satellite tv for pc imagery or different intelligence — that reveals Russia is shifting ahead with a direct plan to deploy nuclear weapons. The officers signify each U.S. and European governments and have been granted anonymity to talk freely a few delicate nationwide safety difficulty.
Nationwide Safety Council spokesperson John Kirby made comparable feedback to reporters on Monday.
“We haven’t seen any motion of any tactical nuclear weapons or something of that sort since this announcement, and we actually haven’t seen any indication that Mr. Putin has made some form of resolution to make use of weapons of mass destruction, not to mention nuclear weapons inside Ukraine,” he stated.
The evaluation and feedback by U.S. and European officers underscore the diploma to which Western governments are batting down Putin’s messaging regardless of beforehand warning concerning the Russian president’s potential use of nuclear weapons earlier on within the battle.
John Bolton, a nationwide safety adviser in the course of the Trump administration, stated on Monday that even when Putin made good on shifting the weapons, “it actually wouldn’t make that a lot distinction for my part.”
Throughout an look on CNN, Bolton famous that Russia has already staged nuclear missiles and different weaponry within the exclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea.
“That’s a spot which has lengthy been mainly a Russian navy facility,” he stated. “So the capabilities Russia already has within the Kaliningrad enclave are those that may very well be most threatening. I don’t assume the thought of shifting some tactical nuclear weapons into Belarus modifications that stability.”
Belarus is amongst Russia’s closest allies and is a supporter of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Leaders from the 2 nations have beforehand spoken about staging superior weaponry, together with nuclear weapons, in Belarus. Putin’s feedback comply with earlier statements he made throughout a December press briefing in Minsk by which he stated that Russia was coaching pilots from Belarus to fly plane able to carrying a “particular warhead.”
The Russian president’s most up-to-date feedback come because the Russians and Ukrainians are locked in an intense battle within the metropolis of Bakhmut. Each side have misplaced a big variety of troops and ammunition in current weeks.
One of many Western officers described the preventing as a battle of yards and one that’s prone to proceed for weeks if not months. Putin’s threats about sending nuclear weapons to Belarus are “meant to distract from Russia’s failures on the battlefield,” that official stated.
An adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of Protection stated the nation’s intelligence companies are monitoring Moscow’s actions intently, however stated Ukrainian troops would proceed to focus their efforts on countering the Russian forces within the jap a part of the nation.
Western officers haven’t fully dominated out the chance that Putin may resort to not solely sending nuclear weapons to Belarus but additionally utilizing these weapons if his forces proceed to lose floor.
Over the previous yr, Putin has threatened the usage of nuclear weapons on a number of events.
In a September speech, he claimed NATO and the West have been participating in “nuclear blackmail.” “To those that enable themselves to make such statements about Russia, I wish to remind you that our nation additionally has varied technique of destruction,” he stated. “And if the territorial integrity of our nation is threatened, we will definitely use all of the means at our disposal to guard Russia and our folks. This isn’t a bluff. ”Within the weeks that adopted, Western officers scrambled behind the scenes to answer the menace. U.S. officers mentioned with allies the validity of Putin’s remarks, warned about Russia’s growing threats and pushed again towards Moscow’s messaging. Since then, warnings about Russia’s potential use of nuclear weapons have quieted, and issues amongst Western officers about Moscow’s threats have additionally dissipated.
One of many European officers described the response amongst their nation’s nationwide safety officers as “calm.” “It’s being seen as one other scare tactic by Putin,” the official stated.
In the meantime, in Ukraine, officers are centered on persevering with to push its Western allies for added funding and weapons to fund its operations in Bakhmut and elsewhere within the nation. A delegation of Ukrainian parliamentarians is in the UK lobbying officers there for added sources, together with jets, in keeping with an individual with direct information of these conversations.