Putin Threatens Nuclear Response to NATO

Russian President Vladimir Putin used his annual State of the Russian Nation address to take aim at the West, threatening to use nuclear weapons against NATO countries if they send forces to help defend Ukraine from a Russian victory.

As Mitch McConnell fights one of his last fights to ensure funding for Ukraine and announces he will step down in November amid a Republican Party that has changed and he no longer recognizes under the influence of Donald Trump. 

McConnell made it clear what his reasons for relinquishing power are. Specifically, his views on national security, including importantly his strong support for Ukraine, are now wholly out of step with where his party stands under Donald Trump.

“Believe me, I know the politics within my party at this particular time,” said the 82-year old McConnell. “I have many faults. Misunderstanding politics is not one of them.”

Per Status Kao, the party that once stood for a strong national defense and opposition to dangerous autocrats like Vladimir Putin is now weak and isolationist, led by a man who literally invited Russia to attack NATO allies if they didn’t pay their share of defense costs. It is a stunning reversal that carries huge implications for the standing of the U.S. with its allies and worldwide. It also signals to our enemies that the best way to destroy American resolve and undermine its strength is to find useful idiots and allies from within the ranks of the Republican Party.

Per reports from the Washington Post, in a speech to Russia’s Federal Assembly that was predominantly dedicated to Russia’s domestic affairs, Putin delivered a tough warning, threatening retaliatory strikes against the West in the event of attacks on Russian territory.

“They must understand that we also have weapons that can hit targets on their territory,” he said, warning of “tragic consequences” if NATO forces were ever deployed to Ukraine. “All this really threatens a conflict with the use of nuclear weapons and the destruction of civilization. Don’t they get that?”

Western leaders, he continued, thought that war “is a cartoon,” adding that Russia’s “strategic nuclear forces are in a state of full readiness.” He boasted that Russia’s most advanced hypersonic nuclear-capable weapons, such as the Kinzhal and Zircon missiles, had been used in Ukraine, while others were in the final stages of testing.

Putin has hinted before of Russia’s readiness to use its nuclear weapons, but Thursday’s warning was unusually sharp.

Per Reuters, Putin said Moscow was open to discussions on nuclear strategic stability with the United States but suggested that Washington had no genuine interest in such talks and was more focused on making false claims about Moscow's alleged aims."Recently there have been more and more unsubstantiated accusations against Russia, for example that we are allegedly going to deploy nuclear weapons in space. Such innuendo... is a ploy to draw us into negotiations on their terms, which are favorable only to the United States," he said.."

...On the eve of the U.S. presidential election, they simply want to show their citizens and everyone else that they still rule the world."

McConnell stands alongside Biden in bipartisan support that we should continue funding to Ukraine. Most members of the senate agree yet the lower house is divided due to Trump loyalists opposed to supporting Ukraine. 

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