Biden reveals US officials have had ‘discussions’ of response to Putin nuclear attack

‘The Pentagon didn't have to be asked’, president says in interview

Andrew Feinberg
Wednesday 12 October 2022 03:02 BST
Biden says US officials have had ‘discussions’ of response to Putin nuclear attack

President Joe Biden on Tuesday said US defence officials have already been planning potential American responses to a Russian attack on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant or the use of a low-yield nuclear weapon by Russian forces in Ukraine.

Mr Biden told CNN host Jake Tapper there have been “discussions” of what the US and Nato would do if Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered the use of a nuclear weapon on the battlefield for the first time since 1945, but said it would be “irresponsible” for him to publicly discuss “what we would or wouldn't do”.

Pressed further on whether he specifically directed the Defence Department to begin such preparations, Mr Biden replied: "The Pentagon didn't have to be asked”.

Mr Biden also said he believes Mr Putin to be “a rational actor” who “miscalculated significantly” by ordering his forces to invade Ukraine in February, but he told Tapper he thought Mr Putin’s description of himself as the leader of all Russian-speaking people worldwide was “irrational”.

Ultimately, Mr Biden said he didn’t believe Mr Putin would use a nuclear weapon. The US president added that he did not expect to meet with the Russian leader at the G20 summit in Bali, but that if Mr Putin wanted to discuss the release of American basketball star Brittney Griner, Mr Biden would be interested.

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