U.S. warns Russia of ‘catastrophic consequences’ if it uses nukes in Ukraine

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WASHINGTON — National security adviser Jake Sullivan said the U.S. has warned Russia that it would face “catastrophic consequences” if it uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

“We have communicated directly privately to the Russians at very high levels that there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia if they use nuclear weapons in Ukraine,” Sullivan said Sunday on the ABC News show “This Week.”

“We have been clear with them and emphatic with them that the United States will respond decisively alongside our allies and partners,” he said.  “We have communicated to the Russians what the consequences would be, but we’ve been careful in how we talk about this publicly.”

Sullivan, in a later appearance Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said the conversations with top Russian officials had occurred since Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest threat on Wednesday, when he announced a partial mobilization and issued a thinly veiled warning that he might employ Russia’s nuclear capability if his forces were pushed into a corner.

“That has happened frequently over the course of the past few months,” Sullivan said on NBC. “It has happened even in just the last few days, but we have not wanted to indicate exactly what those channels look like because we want to be able to protect them so that we have the continuing ability to reach Russia and tell them in no uncertain terms, for example, what the consequences would be — and they would be catastrophic — if Russia went down the dark road of nuclear weapons use.”

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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