President Joe Biden said he does not believe Russian President Vladimir Putin will use a tactical nuclear weapon against Ukraine.
“I think it’s irresponsible of him to talk about it, the idea of a world leader from one of the largest nuclear powers in the world saying he could use a tactical nuclear weapon in Ukraine,” Biden said in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper the network.
“The whole point I made was that it could lead to a terrible outcome. And not because anybody intends to turn it into a world war or anything, just if you use a nuclear weapon, the mistakes that can be made, the miscalculations, who knows what would happen,” Biden continued.
Asked if the United States had thought about what would happen if Putin used a nuclear weapon and what the “red line” would be for his administration, Biden said it would be irresponsible of him to discuss details, but did clear that the Pentagon did so need not be asked to play out possible outcomes.
“He actually can’t talk about using a tactical nuclear weapon with impunity like it’s a reasonable thing to do. The mistakes are made. And the miscalculation could occur, no one can be sure what would happen and could end in Armageddon,” Biden later added in CNN’s interview.
Biden was asked if he thought Putin was a rational actor and made it clear that he thought Putin was “a rational actor who made a significant miscalculation.”
“I think he thought he was going to be welcomed with open arms, that this was Mother Russia’s home in Kyiv and that that’s where he would be welcomed, and I think he just totally miscalculated,” Biden said.
After a large explosion on the bridge over Church Street last Saturday, Russia, which has blamed Ukraine for the attack, has retaliated with a wave of powerful attacks across Ukraine with rocket attacks on Kyiv and across the country, killing at least 19 people and hundreds more injured .
Biden said he has “no intention” of meeting with Putin at the G20 meeting in Indonesia next month.
“He acted brutally, he acted brutally. I think he committed war crimes. And so I see no reason to meet with him now,” Biden said.
But he added a caveat to that statement.
“If he came to me at the G20 and wanted to talk about Griner’s release, I would meet him,” Biden said. “We have taken a position. I just held a G-7 meeting this morning… I am not, nor is anyone, ready to negotiate with Russia to stay in Ukraine and keep any part of Ukraine. “
“But look, he acted brutally, he acted brutally. I think he committed war crimes,” Biden continued. “I see no reason to meet with him now.”