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NATO chief calls Putin’s nuclear threats ‘dangerous rhetoric’

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s threats of using nuclear defense systems “dangerous rhetoric.”

“This is dangerous rhetoric. This is behavior which is irresponsible,” Stoltenberg said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“If you combine this rhetoric with what they’re doing on the ground in Ukraine- waging war against the independent sovereign nation, conducting full fledge invasion of Ukraine- this adds to the seriousness of the situation,” he also said.

“That’s the reason why we both provide support to Ukraine but also why we over the last weeks and months have significantly increased the presence of NATO in the eastern part of the alliance,” he added.

Ahead of Stoltenberg’s remarks, Putin ordered that nuclear defense systems in Russia be on higher alert, citing Western threats over Moscow’s attack on Ukraine.

“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country,” Putin said on Sunday. 

After Putin’s remarks, Russia’s nuclear weapons were set to be prepared for increased readiness for a possible launch. 

Last week, the Russian president also warned countries that interfere with Russian actions will face “consequences you have never seen.” 

Since the invasion, the U.S. and its allies have imposed sanctions including kicking certain Russian banks out of the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT). They have also committed to certain measures that prevent the Russian Central Bank from undermining sanctions and boosting the ruble by using its reserves.

“We stand with the Ukrainian people in this dark hour. Even beyond the measures we are announcing today, we are prepared to take further measures to hold Russia to account for its attack on Ukraine,” a joint statement from the U.S. and its allies said at the time.

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