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“I think this any bluster about the use of nuclear possibility, of use of nuclear weapons, is very dangerous and unhelpful,” Austin said. “Nobody wants to see a nuclear war – nobody can win it.”
U.S. Secretary of Defense, Lloyd Austin, attends a press conference after the meeting of the Ukraine Security Consultative Group at Ramstein Air Base in Ramstein, Germany, Tuesday, April 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Michael Probst) (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
The secretary’s comments were in response to Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who said Monday that the threat of nuclear conflict amid the war in Ukraine “should not be underestimated.”
“The danger is serious,” Lavrov told Russian media. “It is real. It should not be underestimated.”
Austin said the U.S., NATO and western allies were doing what they can to make sure the situation doesn’t “spin out of control.”
“We are always mindful of making sure that we have the right balance and that we’re taking the right approach,” he told reporters. “There’s always a possibility that a number of things can happen. I think it’s unhelpful and dangerous to rattle sabers and speculate about the use of nuclear weapons.”
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office on Monday, April 25, 2022, from left; U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken pose for a picture during their meeting Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
On Tuesday military leaders from 40 countries met in a U.S.-led conference to discuss what more can be done to assist Kyiv as Russia ramps up its second offensive in eastern and southern Ukraine.
Ukrainian foreign minister Dymtro Kuleba said Lavrov’s comments were its “last hope to scare the world off supporting Ukraine” as Moscow has failed to overrun the country despite more than 60 days of fighting.
“This only means Moscow senses defeat in Ukraine. Therefore, the world must double down on supporting Ukraine so that we prevail and safeguard European and global security,” Kuleba said on Twitter.
The U.S., NATO and allied nations ignored Russia’s claims that aid for Ukraine could spark a nuclear war and pledged to provide additional support for the war-torn nation through increased arms packages Tuesday.
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office on Monday, April 25, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, right, attends his meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken Sunday, April 24, 2022, in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
“Nations from around the world stand united in our resolve to support Ukraine in its fight against Russia’s imperial aggression,” Austin said in his address to officials at Ramstein Air Base. “Ukraine clearly believes that it can win, and so does everyone here.”
The Pentagon strengthen its rhetoric this week and said it hopes to see a “weakened” Russia incapable of carrying out similar attacks on foreign nations in the future.