Poland’s foreign minister, Zbigniew Rau, has said Nato’s response to any use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine should be non-nuclear but “devastating”.
Speaking on a visit to Washington, Rau said the alliance was in the process of delivering that message to Moscow.
The Russian military debacle in Ukraine, where its forces are being pushed back in the east of the country, has increased concerns that a desperate Vladimir Putin could resort to using a nuclear weapon, possibly a lower-yield tactical warhead, in a bid to shock Ukraine into halting its resistance to his invasion.
“To the best of our knowledge, Putin is threatening to use tactical nuclear weapons on Ukrainian soil, not to attack Nato, which means that Nato should respond in a conventional way,” Rau told the NBC News program Meet the Press. “But the response should be devastating. And I suppose this is the clear message that the Nato alliance is sending to Russia right now.”
The US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, warned on Sunday that any nuclear use by the Kremlin would have “catastrophic consequences for Russia”.