Kirby downplays Biden's ‘Armageddon’ nuclear remarks
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby states that Biden's warning about a Russian nuclear assault is not based on new evidence.
Days after Joe Biden warned of a potential nuclear "Armageddon", the US military's senior spokesperson downplayed fears of immediate nuclear danger from Russia.
Biden spoke plainly about the prospect of a Russian nuclear attack at a Democratic fundraiser this week. “We have not faced the prospect of armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” the Democrat President said.
He added that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was “not joking when he talks about the potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming” after launching a military operation in Ukraine earlier this year.
Top Pentagon Spokesperson John Kirby, echoing comments from the White House earlier this week, said Biden's remarks were not based on specific new intelligence.
Read next: Kirby: US takes Putin's words on nuclear arms seriously
“His comments were not based on new or fresh intelligence or new indications that Putin has made a decision to use nuclear weapons,” Kirby told Martha Raddatz in an interview on ABC News’ This Week.
“Quite frankly, we don’t have any information that he has made that kind of decision. Nor have we seen anything that would give us pause to reconsider our own strategic nuclear posture.”
U.S. has not “seen anything that would give us pause to reconsider our own strategic nuclear posture” following Putin’s threats in Ukraine, NSC spokesman Kirby tells @MarthaRaddatz.— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 9, 2022
“We don’t have any indication that he has made that kind of decision.” https://t.co/OpYwwOBhrk pic.twitter.com/RHNNlj06Ar
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a member of Donald Trump's cabinet who is considering a presidential bid in 2024, slammed Biden's words invoking Armageddon. “Those comments were reckless” and “a terrible risk to the American people," Pompeo said on the Republican-friendly Fox News network.
Kirby also failed to comment on a recent explosion on the Kerch Bridge, which connects Russia and Crimea.
The explosion harmed Russian military logistics and upset Putin, who saw the bridge as a personal emblem. Ukraine has not yet claimed credit for the attack, but key figures in the country have praised it. “We don’t really have anything more to add to the reports about the explosion on the bridge,” Kirby said. “I just don’t have anything more to contribute to that this morning.”
Kirby also addressed Biden's comments last week that the US was looking for an "off-ramp" for Putin's military operation in Ukraine.
“Putin started this war and Putin could end it today, simply by moving his troops out of the country,” Kirby said.
“He’s the one who chose to start this conflict again and he can choose to end it.”