President Biden has warned Russian President Vladimir Putin not to “change the face of war” by using tactical nuclear or chemical weapons amid ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
“Do not. do not. do not. You will change the face of war like nothing since World War II, “Biden told Scott Pelley on TBEN’s “60 Minutes” when asked what he would tell the Russian president if he considers using weapons of mass destruction.
If Russia uses the weapons, Biden said, “it will have consequences. They will become more of an outcast in the world than they have ever been.”
The president declined to specify what the US response would be, but said it will depend on “the magnitude of what they do”.
The conflict has raised international concerns about the possible use of nuclear weapons during war, especially as Russia seeks to halt recent Ukrainian gains.
Russian forces occupy the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has accused the country of “nuclear terror.”
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in August that humanity is “one miscalculation from nuclear destruction” as conflict “with nuclear undertones” intensifies in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere.
Now, more than half a year into the war, Ukraine has intensified its counter-offensive, prompting Russian troops to withdraw from some occupied territories.
Frustration over the war in Russia has increased as Ukraine takes back territory. Russian municipal deputies last week signed a petition calling on Putin to resign, and Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov called Russia’s recent withdrawal from Ukraine “astonishing”.
Ukraine’s top prosecutor said on TBEN’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the attorney general’s office has documented 34,000 potential war crimes committed during the conflict and is preparing a case over genocide against Russia.
The rest of Biden’s ’60 Minutes’ interview, his first with the show as president, will air in full on Sunday night.