Vladimir Putin
Russian Families Say Emotional Goodbyes As Putin's Mobilization Begins Photo by Gavriil Grigorov/SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images

The United States has warned the Russian government that it will decisively respond with “catastrophic consequences” should Putin resort to the use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan weighed heavily on these words following a speech on Wednesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin who made threats while staging a referendum of annexation votes for the four eastern Ukrainian regions that Russian forces have taken over during their invasion.

According to Reuters, Putin also announced Moscow’s first military mobilization since World War II and warned that he could use all his available weapons systems should he feel that Russia and its territories' integrity are threatened. Putin said his military mobilization will have some 300,000 reserved forces deployed to fight in Ukraine.

“Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the wind can also turn in their direction,” Putin announced. “This is not a bluff,” the Russian leader added.

Sullivan did not go into details on the nature of the planned U.S. retaliation, but he did remark that the country has privately spelled out what it meant with Moscow. The security adviser said the White House is in constant and direct communication with Russia. “If Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia. The United States will respond decisively,” Sullivan said during NBC’s Meet the Press.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has called Putin annexing referendums a sham, citing this was made to justify the escalation of the Russian leader's planned attacks after recent battlefield losses of troops. However, analysts said they are not completely convinced that Putin is willing to make the first move in using its nuclear weapons. But then Sullivan said the Russian leader remains intent on wiping out Ukraine and its people as he believes they “do not have a right to exist”.

What military experts perceive is that Russia will not use nuclear weapons on the front lines but could instead detonate a nuclear bomb over water or high above Ukraine, enough to generate an electromagnetic pulse that would disable all electronic equipment. Other notions have also been put on the table which bring up scenarios of an attack on Ukraine’s urban center, causing mass casualties.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna attends a Security Council meeting on the Russian invasion Ukraine at the UN
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna attends a Security Council meeting on the Russian invasion Ukraine at the United Nations on September 22, 2022 in New York. - US Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanded that Russian President Vladimir Putin be held to account as he faced Russia in a Security Council session in which the United Nations catalogued abuses in Ukraine. Photo by Bryan R. Smith/AFP via Getty Images

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