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US Sees No Indication of Russia's Intent to Use Nuclear Weapons in Ukraine: Pentagon

© AP Photo / J. Scott ApplewhiteArmy Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command
Army Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, commander of U.S. Central Command - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.10.2022
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States sees no evidence suggesting that Russia has decided to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Saturday.
"I don't see anything right now that would lead me to believe that he [Russian President Vladimir Putin] has made such a decision," Austin told CNN interviewer Fareed Zakaria.
The Pentagon chief said that Washington had previously communicated these concerns to Moscow via top-level channels. When asked if he had any recent contacts with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Austin responded negatively.
Tigr-M armoured vehicle followed by Yars ICBM launchers as Strategic Rocket Troops vehicles enter Red Square - Sputnik International, 1920, 25.09.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
US Threatens Russia With ‘Catastrophic Consequences’ If It Nukes Ukraine, Distorts Putin’s Warning
Earlier this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia does not want to develop the theme of nuclear escalation and is urging everyone to behave responsibly.
"We do not want to develop this theme, we are still urging everyone to behave responsibly," Peskov said, adding that only those acting irresponsibly had been talking about nuclear escalation.
Previously, US officials and media accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of making “nuclear threats” against Ukraine in his speech to the nation on September 21, where he announced partial mobilization and status referendums in the Donbass, Kherson and Zaporozhye.
What Putin actually said was that Kiev and its Western sponsors had “resorted to nuclear blackmail,” and that Moscow would not hesitate to respond if its security interests were threatened.
“I am referring not only to the Western-encouraged shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, which poses a threat of a nuclear disaster, but also to the statements made by some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction – nuclear weapons – against Russia. I would like to remind those who make such statements regarding Russia that our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have. In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff,” Putin said.
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