The White House on Friday said it has seen no indication Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons despite comments made by President Biden warning the U.S. has not “faced the prospect of Armageddon” in 60 years.
“We have not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture, nor do we have indications that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One.
Jean-Pierre defended comments made by the president earlier Friday, saying, “The kind of irresponsible rhetoric we have seen is no way for the leader of a nuclear-armed state to speak, and that’s what the president was making very clear.”
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The press secretary’s clarification came after alarming comments were made by Biden on Thursday in an address to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin is “not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming,” Biden said.
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis.”
Biden was referring to comments made by Putin last month when he threatened to escalate the war in Ukraine by employing the use of nuclear weapons.
Putin has in recent weeks repeatedly leaned on the threat of nuclear warfare in Ukraine as he looks to warn the West from interfering in his war aims.
Western officials have decried the tactic as escalatory and irresponsible.
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But French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday appeared to rebuke Biden’s comments and urged Western officials to be responsible when countering the threat of nuclear warfare.
“We must speak with prudence when commenting on such matters,” Macron said Friday, according to Reuters.
Fox News’ Max Thornberry contributed to this report.