Russian President Vladimir Putin raised the alert status for his nuclear forces to “special regime of combat duty” as Russia and Ukraine battle for the fourth day.
Putin ordered the Russian defense minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a “special regime of combat duty.” The move signals tensions could boil over into a nuclear war.
Putin said in a meeting of top officials on Sunday that the move was in response to leading NATO powers making what he called “aggressive statements,” according to Tass, the state-owned Russian news agency.
“He is right now threatening a nuclear escalation,” former DIA intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler told Fox News Channel. “This a veiled threat – or maybe such a veiled threat – he just met with his chief of general staff and minister of defense. He is escalating the conflict into the nuclear domain in order to de-escalate – that is topple Kyiv’s regime quickly.”
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U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield denounced the move as a “totally unacceptable” escalation, telling “Face the Nation” on Sunday morning that the U.S. will “continue here at the United Nations and around the world to use every possible lever we have at our disposal to expose his actions.”
“President Putin is continuing to escalate this war in a manner that is totally unacceptable, and we have to continue to condemn his actions in the strongest possible way,” Thomas-Greenfield said.