“We’ve also communicated directly and very clearly to the Russians, President Putin about the consequences,” the top US diplomat said at a Bloomberg event. Blinken did not indicate how it was communicated to Putin or by whom, and principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel later suggested that US officials had not communicated directly with him.
“You have seen members of this administration dialogue directly with their counterparts in Russia and express these concerns and the potential for dire consequences,” which “no doubt have likely made its way to President Putin,” Patel said at a State Department briefing.
Biden administration officials have said that Moscow has been warned at the highest levels of the consequences for use of nuclear weapon in the war, but Blinken’s remark is the first explicit mention that the message has been communicated to Putin himself.
Blinken denounced Russia’s latest claim that Ukraine is considering the use of a “dirty bomb” as “another fabrication and something that is also the height of irresponsibility coming from a nuclear power.”
He said the United States has communicated directly with the Russians “about trying to use this false allegation as a pretext for any kind of escalation.”
Blinken reiterated that the US is tracking the Kremlin’s nuclear saber-rattling “very carefully,” but hasn’t “seen any reason to change our nuclear posture.”