Russia’s threat of a nuclear attack will be among the key topics discussed by President Biden and U.S. allies during the NATO summit this week, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Wednesday.
A Kremlin spokesperson said this week that Russian President Vladimir Putin could use nuclear weapons if he perceived “an existential threat.”
Mr. Sullivan said NATO leaders will be discussing how to respond to such threats. He reiterated that the U.S. hasn’t seen any reason to adjust its nuclear posture.
“It’s, of course, something that we will have to continue to stay in close consultation with allies and partners as well as communicate directly to the Russians,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Brussels.
The specter of nuclear war was raised by Putin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov in an interview with CNN.
“We have a concept of domestic security and it’s public, you can read all the reasons for nuclear arms to be used,” he said. “So if it is an existential threat for our country, then [the nuclear arsenal] can be used in accordance with our concept.”
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Mr. Peskov did not elaborate on what Russia would view as an existential threat.
Mr. Sullivan said the fresh round of sanctions the U.S. and Europe plan to impose on Russia will target political figures, oligarchs, and entities.
The sanctions will be announced in conjunction with allies on Thursday, he said. In a thinly-veiled threat to China, the new penalties will include provisions that will impact any country that works to help Russia get around the existing sanctions.
Initially criticized for their slow response to the Russia-Ukraine war, the U.S. and EU have sanctioned hundreds of people, including political officials, oligarchs with ties to the Kremlin, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In addition, Russian banks, businesses, airlines, and other industries have also been slapped with sanctions, though there have been some carveouts for Russian energy companies because European depend on Moscow’s oil and natural gas.