State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington sees “no reason” to change the alert levels of the US nuclear force

The US said the Russian military had been slowed down, but not stopped. AFP

Washington:

President Joe Biden and other top US officials on Monday downplayed the threat of Russia’s “dangerous” nuclear mobilization as the war in Ukraine intensified and more weapons were being sent by the West to Kyiv.

Asked whether Americans should be concerned about nuclear war after President Vladimir Putin put his strategic forces on alert, Biden gave a calm “no” in response.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Washington sees “no reason” to change the US nuclear force’s alert levels, and a senior defense official said the Pentagon has made no clear statements by the Russians despite Putin’s announcement on Sunday. Didn’t see change.

Defense Department spokesman John Kirby said the Pentagon continues to “review and analyze and monitor” Russia’s currency.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is “comfortable with the United States’ strategic deterrence posture and our ability to defend the homeland,” Kirby told reporters.

‘inflammatory rhetoric’

On Sunday, four days after Moscow launched an invasion of Ukraine, Putin announced that he asked his military chiefs to “put the Russian military’s resistance forces into a special mode of combat service” in a reference to the country’s massive nuclear arsenal. had ordered. basic infrastructure.

US officials called the order “dangerous” and “escalatory”.

But on Monday officials with the US State and Defense departments said they were still trying to determine what action to take in response to the order.

“Such provocative rhetoric … is dangerous, adds to the risk of miscalculation, (and should) be avoided,” Price said.

“We have agreed for a long time – the United States and the Russian Federation – that nuclear use will have disastrous, disastrous consequences,” Price said.

Russians slow down, don’t stop

One Monday Biden hosted a video conference with aides and allies to support Ukraine in its fight against what the White House called “Russia’s unfair and unprovoked war.”

In the safe meeting, the group discussed “coordinated efforts to impose serious costs and consequences for holding Russia accountable” while trying to maintain global economic stability, including keeping energy prices low, the White House said.

The US and NATO allies continued to send warships to Ukraine, which Price said would help them fight both Russian armored vehicles and air power.

He declined to confirm a report that Washington, following Germany’s example, was delivering shoulder-mounted Stinger missiles that brought down helicopters and slow-moving jets after months of denying Ukrainians. could.

Assessing Russian military progress, Pentagon spokesman Kirby said fuel shortages, other military issues and unexpectedly stiff resistance from Ukraine’s military had slowed Russian progress significantly.

“It is clear that the Russians had not made the progress they wanted to make until the fifth day,” Kirby said.

“They have faced setbacks. And they have faced resistance,” Kirby told reporters.

Still, he said, even if they were slowed down, the Russians have an overwhelming force — 25 percent of which is set to move outside Ukraine — to seize major cities and oust the Ukrainian government. is firm.

“Make no mistake, Mr. Putin still has significant war power at his disposal. He hasn’t transferred it to Ukraine,” Kirby said.

“They’ve had setbacks, but I don’t think we can assume they’re going to be set back.”

“They want to move on to Kiev to capture Kiev,” he said.

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