Soon after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech announcing partial mobilization of national forces for the operation in Ukraine, which included a hint of willingness to resort to nuclear defense of Russia’s territorial integrity, Navy Admiral Charles A. Richard – who currently serves as the US Strategic Command chief – confirmed that the Pentagon is taking the Russian nuclear threat seriously.

Putin had said in his early Wednesday address that “If Russia feels its territorial integrity is threatened, we will use all defense methods at our disposal, and this is not a bluff,” while also decrying what he called the West’s “nuclear blackmail”.

Admiral Richard addressed a national security panel event later on the same day entitled “America Under Attack—Defending the Homeland” held in Maryland. He began by acknowledging that “All of us in this room are back in the business of contemplating competition through crisis and possible direct armed conflict with a nuclear-capable peer.”

“We have not had to do that in over 30 years. The implications of that are profound,” he emphasized. Speaking of both Russia and China as major nuclear armed powers and rivals of the US, he continued, “We just haven’t faced competitors and opponents like that in a long time,” asserting that “Russia and China can escalate to any level of violence that they choose in any domain with any instrument of power worldwide.”

He spoke of increasing threats from both at a moment the US recently its nuclear posture review:

“We need to execute this very good strategy as the threat from China continues to increase.

“We don’t know where that’s going to end, as the threat from Russia continues to increase, along with the other challenges that we face.”

As tough as Putin’s initial words were, his top national security official, Dmitry Medvedev, followed up by doubling down on the nuclear warning with even bolder words. “The Donbas [Donetsk and Luhansk] republics and other territories will be accepted into Russia,” he posted to Telegram. That’s when the former president and deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council stated:

Russia has announced that not only mobilization capabilities, but also any Russian weapons, including strategic nuclear weapons and weapons based on new principles, could be used for such protection.

Medvedev also invoked the far reach of Russia’s hypersonic weapons, saying, “Various retired idiots wearing a general’s insignia should know better than to try to scare us with speculations about a NATO strike at Crimea. Hypersonic retaliation is be able to reach targets in Europe and the United States much faster, it’s guaranteed.”

He added that “the Western establishment and, in general, all citizens of the NATO countries, need to understand that Russia has chosen its own path. There is no turning back.”

Republished from with permission

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