A senior Biden administration official said Wednesday that Russia’s President Putin is making another “legalistic” justification for his war by threatening a nuclear attack on the West. 

The senior administration official said Putin “playing the nuclear card” was similar to remarks he had previously made. 

Vladimir Putin has accused the NATO countries of engaging in nuclear blackmail.

President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, addresses the general debate of the General Assembly’s seventy-seventh session.(Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten)

The way the Biden administration understands Putin’s threat, explained the senior administration official is that he is using a “legalistic” construct. If these “sham” referendums pass, then any attempts by Ukraine to retake those territories will be seen as an attack on Russia itself, allowing it to use all options.

“Sort of a bizzare Russian version of Article 5,” explained the Biden administration official.

“So there is, in our view, one world, the fictitious Russian legal world, and then there is the real world,” official added.

“It is not an act of confidence, in fact, it is an act of weakness,” a senior administration official offered his thoughts. 

“We’re sending very clear messages to Russia about the consequences of escalation,” senior administration official added. “That doesn’t mean that we’re blind to the dynamics that could lead to escalation.”

The senior Biden administration official said that other countries would not buy Putin’s “absurd” arguments on this.

“The play he is running here is not going to succeed.”

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Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...

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