GOP Senator Urges Biden Not to Rule Out 'First Use Nuclear Action' Against Russia Over Ukraine
07:30 GMT 09.12.2021 (Updated: 20:55 GMT 19.10.2022)
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his US counterpart Joe Biden held a video call on 7 December amid a recent deluge of Western media claims that Russian troops are building up near Ukraine’s border for an alleged incursion. Moscow has repeatedly dismissed the allegations as “propaganda”.
US President Joe Biden should not “rule out first use nuclear action” against Russia over a potential incursion into Ukraine
, said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., the number two Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Mississippi's senior senator was appearing in an interview with Fox News' Neil Cavuto from the Capitol to weigh in on Tuesday’s video call
between President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The conversation had revolved around such issues as tensions related to Ukraine amid hysterical claims of a purported "Russian invasion" of the neighbouring country. Biden had voiced his country’s “deep concerns” over the alleged buildup and "made clear" to Putin that America and its allies would respond with strong economic and other measures in the event of any military escalation in Ukraine.
However, Biden ruled out putting US boots on the ground in Ukraine, saying that “is not on the table”.
8 December 2021, 11:00 GMT
Senator Wicker, however, expressed the hope that Joe Biden would adopt a more tough stance, and keep all options open. As the Republican politician emphasised that there were already around 200 US National Guard troops on the ground in Ukraine, he said:
“I would not rule out military action… Military action could mean we stand off with our ships in the Black Sea and we rain destruction on Russian military capability. It could mean that… It could mean we participate. It could mean American troops on the ground.”
Wicker’s strong rhetoric didn’t stop there, as he added:
"We don't rule out first use nuclear action… We don't think it'll happen, but there are certain things in negotiation, if you're going to be tough, you don't take off the table."
According to Wicker, “Losing a free, democratic Ukraine to Russian invasion would be a game changer to a free Europe.”
Nevertheless, the Mississippi senior made it clear with Fox News that he would prefer a diplomatic solution rather than use of force against Russia over its dealings with Ukraine.
The Russian Embassy responded to the “irresponsible” statements made by US Senator Roger Wicker in a message posted on the embassy's Facebook site.
It suggested rereading carefully the joint statement of the presidents of Russia and the United States dated 16 June 2021. This document confirms the adherence of the two countries to the principle that there can be no winners in a nuclear war and it should never be unleashed.
Furthermore, the statement says it is inappropriate for an American politician sitting in the legislature to speak with flippancy about use of nuclear weapons.
Numerous western media outlets
have been running with the "Russian invasion of Ukraine" narrative, with Bloomberg first reporting about a purported "incursion" in mid-November. In the recent conversation between Biden and Putin, the issue was one of the focal points.
The US POTUS informed Vladimir Putin that Washington was preparing large-scale sanctions in case of a further escalation of the situation around Ukraine, according to the Kremlin, which has repeatedly denied the groundless reports.
8 December 2021, 17:48 GMT
In response to Biden's concerns over the allegedly "threatening" nature of Russian troops' movement near the border, Putin highlighted that it was NATO "that was undertaking dangerous attempts to gain a foothold on Ukrainian territory, and building up its military capabilities along the Russian border". The Kremlin emphasised the necessity of legally binding guarantees preventing NATO’s eastward expansion.
According to the White House, during the call, Biden made no concessions regarding whether or not to allow entry into NATO
for Ukraine, which has grown increasingly close to the military alliance since the US-backed coup in 2014 that propelled a right-wing nationalist government to power in Kiev.