President Joe Biden reportedly stated on Monday that the threat posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s potential use of tactical nuclear weapons is “real,” only days after condemning Russia’s deployment of such weapons in Belarus.
Biden termed Putin’s announcement on Saturday that Russia had deployed its first tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus “absolutely irresponsible.”
“When I was out here about two years ago saying I worried about the Colorado River drying up, everybody looked at me like I was crazy,” Biden reportedly remarked to a group of donors.
“They looked at me like when I said I worry about Putin using tactical nuclear weapons. It’s real,” Biden continued.
Last week, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko announced that his nation has begun receiving Russian tactical nuclear weapons, some of which are three times more potent than the atomic bombs unleashed by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, this is Russia’s first deployment of such warheads outside of Russia.
In response to the deployment, the United States has stated that it has no intention of altering its position on strategic nuclear weapons.
In May, Russia refuted Biden’s criticism of its plan to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, stating that the United States had deployed such weapons in Europe for decades.
Many observers had previously raised concerns that Russia may choose to use nuclear weapons to defend itself from the current Ukrainian counteroffensive.