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Def Sec Austin: No Indication Russian Nuclear Exercises Are Cover


US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin says the Pentagon see no indication that ongoing Russian nuclear exercises are cover for something else, in remarks from the Department of Defence.

  • Austin: "We have not seen anything to indicate that Putin has made a decision to use a dirty bomb, nor have we seen any indications that the Ukrainians are planning such a thing."
  • Austin's remarks come as Russian President Vladimir Putin concludes
    an antagonistic annual speech to the Valdai Discussion Club.
  • Putin said: "The West is trying to lay blame on Russia when talking about the nuclear threat."
  • Putin: "[Former UK Prime Minister] Liz Truss was crazy when she was talking about nuclear weapons. We saw this as blackmail."
  • Putin: "There is a danger of nuclear weapons usage so long as nuclear weapons exist," but Putin says Russia's nuclear doctrine dictates that nuclear weapons should "only be used for defence."
  • Putin's comments are unlikely to ease heightened nuclear tensions as ambiguity persists about what Moscow considers defence. The Kremlin has stressed that Crimea and, to a lesser extent, newly annexed Ukrainian territories are part of the Russian Federation, therefore may be subject to nuclear defence doctrine if the Ukrainian counteroffensive continues.

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