The threat that Russia may use low-yield or tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine cannot be taken lightly.but the CIA hasn’t seen much practical evidence to bolster that concern, CIA Director Mr. William Burns.
In a speech at Georgia Tech, Burns referred to the “potential despair” and military setbacks that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government have suffered since they moved forces into Ukraine on February 24.
For these reasons, “none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a possible recourse to tactical nukes or underperforming,” Burns said.
That said, despite the Kremlin’s “rhetorical stances” about putting the world’s largest nuclear arsenal on high alert, “We haven’t seen much practical evidence of the kind of deployments or military arrangements that reinforce that concern.”.
Burns made his comments in response to a question from former US Senator Sam Nunn, a leading gun control advocate, at the end of his first speech since taking over as head of America’s top spy agency in March 2021. .
In a wide-ranging speech, the former US career diplomat said that US spy agencies last fall began collecting “disturbing and detailed” information about a Putin plan for a “major new invasion” of Ukraine.
Putin has been “cooked” in grievance, ambition and insecurity and saw that the “window was closing to shape Ukraine’s orientation” away from the West, said Burns, who called the Russian leader an “apostle of revenge”.
American intelligence has been vital in Ukraine’s fight against Russian forces, said Burns, whose diplomatic posts included one as US ambassador to Moscow.
The “crimes” he said these forces committed in the Ukrainian town of Bucha they are “horrible”.
Russia, which has repeatedly denied targeting civilians since the invasion, called allegations that its forces executed civilians in Bucha while occupying the city a “monstrous forgery” meant to denigrate the Russian military. The Kremlin says it has launched a “special military operation” to demilitarize and “liberate” Ukraine from nationalist extremists.
On the other hand, former Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev said Thursday that if Finland or Sweden join NATO, Russia is going to reinforce its military contingent, including nuclear weapons in the Baltic Seanear Scandinavia.
In the event of accession, “the Alliance’s borders with Russia would be multiplied by two. And it will be necessary to defend these borders, ”revealed the current number two of the Russian Security Council in a message on Telegram.
“In this case, it could no longer be considered a non-nuclear Baltic”, he added, also evoking the deployment of infantry and anti-aircraft defense systems in northwestern Russia and naval forces in the Gulf of Finland.
Referring to the population of Finland and Sweden, the official estimated that “nobody in their right mind (…) can want an increase in tension on their borders and have Iskander (missiles) next to their house, ( missiles) hypersonic and ships with nuclear weapons”.
Finland, which shares a long border with Russia and has a complicated history with its neighbor, and also Sweden, sThey oppose joining NATO after the Russian offensive against Ukraine.
(With information from Reuters and AFP)
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