Biden warns of 'Armageddon', Russia slams nuclear 'first strike' comments
US President Joe Biden has warned of the risk of nuclear "Armageddon" amid a persisting campaign accusing Moscow of planning to use nukes against Ukraine.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Biden proclaimed in remarks on Thursday at a fundraising reception for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee in New York.
He accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of threatening to use nuclear, biological and chemical weapons to make up for his nation's "under-performing" army.
“We’ve got a guy I know fairly well,” said the US president of Putin, in extended remarks about the Ukraine conflict. “He’s not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly under-performing."
He made the remarks as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the US-led NATO military alliance should first launch preventive strikes against Russia, RIA news agency reported.
For months, US officials have repeatedly warned of the possibility of Russia using weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine. However, the officials conceded this week that they have seen no change to Russia's nuclear forces that would require a change in the alert posture of American nuclear forces.
This is while the White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan has stated that Washington has made it "clear" to Moscow about what the "consequences" of using a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.
Moscow blasts Zelensky's talk of preventive strikes
The Kremlin, meanwhile, slammed Zelensky's remarks of NATO's preventive strikes against Russia.
"Such statements are nothing other than an appeal to start yet another world war with unpredictable, monstrous consequences," said Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov as quoted in the report.
In a discussion with the Lowy Institute, an Australian think tank, Zelensky insisted that strikes were necessary to preclude any use of nuclear weapons, but he did not elaborate on what type of strikes he had in mind, indicating potential use of nuclear armaments.
Macron pledges French howitzers for Ukraine
French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday pledged that European countries would send more military hardware to Ukraine to help Kiev counter Russia, including more French Caesar-type howitzers.
"We are working indeed on several requests, with several members of the EU, including on new Caesars," Macron underlined.
Zelensky called on European governments to help Kiev's forces expel Russian troops "once and for all" while claiming that his country's military had recaptured swathes of fresh territory from Russian troops.