President Joe Biden warned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “not joking” about using nuclear weapons in Ukraine as the Russian military, which was widely viewed as the second most powerful military in the world before the war, is suffering battlefield losses in Ukraine.
Biden’s remarks come as a Russian military train is reportedly transporting equipment for the nation’s nuclear weapons program to the frontlines of its war with Ukraine, sparking fears that Putin could be preparing to use nuclear weapons.
The Telegraph reported that the train is “operated by the secretive nuclear division and linked to the 12th main directorate of the Russian ministry of defence.” The train, which was pictured on a Russian propaganda Telegram account, was reportedly on its way to Ukraine from central Russia.
Biden issued the warning while talking to Democrats at a fundraiser in New York Thursday night at the home of James Murdoch, the media investor.
Biden said that Putin was “not joking” about potentially using “tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons because his military is you might say significantly underperforming.”
“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis,” Biden said, adding that “we have a direct threat of the use of nuclear weapons if in fact things continue down the path they are going.”
Biden added that he was trying to figure out what Putin wanted in order to save face and back out of the situation.
“I’m trying to figure out: what is Putin’s off-ramp?” Biden claimed. “Where does he find a way out?”
Biden’s warning comes after the U.S. federal government announced a $290 million purchase of Nplate, a drug that is used to treat severe radiation sickness.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the purchase this week from Amgen, a company based in California.
“This is part of our ongoing work for preparedness and radiological security,” a spokesperson for the department claimed in a statement. “It has not been accelerated by the situation in Ukraine.”
“ARS (acute radiation syndrome), also known as radiation sickness, occurs when a person’s entire body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation, reaching internal organs in a matter of seconds,” a statement from the department said. “Symptoms of ARS injuries include impaired blood clotting as a result of low platelet counts, which can lead to uncontrolled and life-threatening bleeding.
“To reduce radiation-induced bleeding, Nplate stimulates the body’s production of platelets,” the statement added. “The drug can be used to treat adults and children.”