The Tiger Team is focused on creating contingency plans for several scenarios, including Russia’s potential use of chemical or biological weapons, targeting US convoys delivering military assistance, disruptions to global food supply chains and the growing refugee crisis.
The National Security Council has also created another strategy group that will work in tandem with them to conduct a longer-term examination of potential major geopolitical shifts happening because of Russia’s invasion. The strategy group is working to monitor and mitigate risks, while considering how to advance and defend US interests, the official said.
In Brussels, the leaders will also have to confront another threat Putin has made: deploying his arsenal of nuclear weapons.
In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov repeatedly refused to rule out that Russia would consider using nuclear weapons.
When asked under what conditions Putin would use Russia’s nuclear capability, Peskov replied, “If it is an existential threat to our country, then it can be.”
The United States condemned Peskov’s “dangerous” comments. “It’s not the way a responsible nuclear power should act,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.
Putin has previously hinted at using nuclear weapons against nations that he saw as a threat to Russia. Back in February, the Russian President said in a televised statement, “No matter who tries to stand in our way or all the more so create threats for our country and our people, they must know that Russia will respond immediately, and the consequences will be such as you have never seen in your entire history. “
Any use of chemical weapons by Russia would be flatly unacceptable and “totally change the nature of the conflict” in Ukraine, NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday. Speaking ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, the NATO chief warned that the use of chemical weapons would be a “blatant violation of international law and of far reaching consequences.”
Stoltenberg accused China of providing political support and of “spreading blatant lies and disinformation,” and said Beijing’s role in the invasion would be addressed at the summit. “Beijing has joined Moscow in questioning the right of independent nations to choose to choose their own path. The alliance is concerned that China could provide” material support for the Russian invasion. “
Stoltenberg demanded that Belarus must also end its “complicity in Putin’s invasion,” and warned decisions taken at the summit tomorrow would have “far reaching implications.”