Russia ‘highly unlikely’ to use nukes, says US intelligence chief

WASHINGTON: Russia highly unlikely to use nuclear weapons, top says american intelligence an official said on Thursday, despite past saber blows from the Kremlin and heavy losses suffered by eMoscow during its invasion of Ukraine.
“It’s highly unlikely, based on our current assessment,” Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Nuclear tensions between Russia and the United States have increased since the start of the conflict with Ukraine, with Putin repeatedly warning that Russia is ready to use its nuclear arsenal if necessary to defend its “territorial integrity”.
In February, Putin announced that Russia was suspending its participation in the New START Treatythe last remaining nuclear weapons pact with the United States, which limits the number of strategic warheads each side can deploy.
Haines did not provide details of the US intelligence community’s assessment.
For months, US officials said they had seen no signs that Russia was preparing to use nuclear weapons, but also warned they remained vigilant.
Last month, a senior US diplomat said publicly that the United States and its NATO allies should remain alert to signs that Russian President Vladimir Putin might use a tactical strategy. nuclear weapon in a “controlled” escalation of its war in Ukraine.
US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman stressed that Putin’s announcement on March 25 that Russia was preparing to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus “is his effort to use this threat in a controlled manner”.
Yet there have also been assurances of nuclear restraint from Moscow.
Last week, the Kremlin played down the idea that Russia might be preparing to conduct a nuclear weapons test, saying all nuclear states abide by a moratorium on nuclear weapons testing.


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