President Vladimir Putin’s NUCLEAR THREATS Stir Growing Alarm in Washington, D.C.

President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia displayed on Friday on a screen in Moscow as he addressed the sham annexation of four regions of Ukraine. © Alexander Nemenov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Vladimir Putin’s NUCLEAR THREATS Stir Growing Alarm in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — For the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962, top government leaders in Moscow are making explicit nuclear threats and officials in Washington are gaming out scenarios should President Vladimir V. Putin decide to use a tactical nuclear weapon to make up for the failings of Russian troops in Ukraine.

In a speech on Friday, Mr. Putin raised the prospect anew, calling the United States and NATO enemies seeking Russia’s collapse and declaring again that he would use “all available means” to defend Russian territory — which he has now declared includes four provinces of eastern Ukraine.

Mr. Putin reminded the world of President Harry S. Truman’s decision to drop atomic weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, 77 years ago, adding, “By the way, they created a precedent.” On Saturday, the strongman leader of the southern Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, said Mr. Putin should consider using “low-yield nuclear weapons” in Ukraine, becoming the first prominent Russian official to openly call for such a strike.

Source: the New York Times, David E. Sanger, Anton Troianovski and Julian E. Barnes

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