UKRAINE: U.S. President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that he doubted Russian President Vladimir Putin would deploy a tactical nuclear weapon in response to Ukraine’s urgent request for an immediate increase in Western military support to protect against missile strikes on its cities.
Two days after Russia significantly escalated the conflict by firing a barrage of missiles into Ukrainian towns, explosions rattled the Russian-occupied southern towns of Kherson and Melitopol, and air raid sirens were heard over Kiev.
In response to an alleged Ukrainian attack on Russia’s bridge to the annexed Crimea last weekend, the Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered missile strikes on Monday under pressure from his own people to escalate the conflict. His forces have been losing ground since early September.
Recently, Moscow has made moves to annex further portions of Ukraine after conducting widely criticised and unconstitutional referendums, organising hundreds of thousands of Russians to fight, and repeatedly threatening to use nuclear weapons.
In an interview Biden stated that the Russian president Vladimir Putin was a “reasonable actor who has badly miscalculated.”
When asked how likely it was that Putin would use a tactical nuclear bomb, Biden said, “Well, I don’t think he will.”
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday that NATO has not observed any modification in Russia’s nuclear posture as a result of the threats.
Zelenskyy seeks support from Western allies
As the country’s cities continue to be targeted by Russian missiles, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he anticipates a favourable response from Western allies in Brussels on Wednesday.
Zelenskyy requested more air defence capabilities from the Group of Seven (G7) nations on Tuesday in response to the barrage on Monday. For “as long as it takes,” the G7 agreed to stand by Kiev.
The Ukraine Defence Contact Group, a coalition of over 50 nations, will convene in Brussels on Wednesday in conjunction with a meeting of the NATO defence ministers.
Oleksii Reznikov, the defence minister of Ukraine, welcomed the arrival from the United States of four more High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), whose precision and increased range have helped Ukraine to lessen Russia’s artillery superiority.
He stated on Twitter that “Himars time” was “good for Ukrainians and bad for the occupiers.”
According to a source in the German defence ministry, Ukraine received the first of the four IRIS-T air defence systems Germany agreed to send.
The delivery of NASAMS air defences to Ukraine was reportedly accelerated by the United States. Washington has already given Ukraine security assistance totaling more than $16.8 billion during the conflict.
In a statement, the G7 nations—the United States, Germany, France, Japan, Britain, Italy, and Canada—promised to continue providing Ukraine with “financial, humanitarian, military, diplomatic, and legal support… for as long as it takes.”
Along with that, it referred to “indiscriminate strikes on innocent civilian populations” as war crimes and declared that Putin would be held accountable.
Moscow, which describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation” to destroy dangerous nationalists and safeguard Russian speakers, has charged the West with inflaming and extending the crisis by backing Kyiv.
Russia is accused by Kiev and its Western backers of annexing undisputed Ukrainian territory. On Tuesday, Zelenskyy once more rejected holding peace negotiations with Putin.