By Aamir Madhani and Zeke Miller

NEW YORK (AP) — President Joe Biden said Thursday that the threat of nuclear “Armageddon” is at its highest level since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, as Russian officials dealt a major blow to eight tactical nuclear weapons. Discuss the possibility of using Monthly attack on Ukraine.

Speaking at a fund-raiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Biden said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “a man I know very well” and that the Russian leader “when he was talking about strategic nuclear weapons or biological or chemical They weren’t kidding when they talked about using weapons.”

“We haven’t faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Biden added. He suggested that the threat from Putin is real “because his military is – you could say – significantly underperforming.”

U.S. officials have warned for months about the possibility that Russia could use weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine as it has suffered a series of strategic failures on the battlefield, although Biden’s remarks indicated that the nuclear Marks the strongest warnings ever issued by the US government about stakes.

It was not immediately clear whether Biden was referring to a new assessment of Russian intentions. As recently as this week, though, U.S. officials said they had not seen any changes in Russia’s nuclear forces that would require a change in the alert posture of U.S. nuclear forces.

“We see no reason to adjust our strategic nuclear posture, and we have no indication that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons immediately,” White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday. is,” White House press secretary Karen Jean-Pierre said Tuesday.

Experts consider the 13-day showdown to be the closest the world has come to a nuclear disaster since the US discovered the Soviet Union’s secret nuclear weapons deployment in Cuba in 1962. The crisis during the administration of President John F. Kennedy led to a renewed focus on arms control on both sides of the Iron Curtain.

Biden also challenged Russian nuclear doctrine, warning that the use of a low-yield tactical weapon could quickly spiral out of control into a global catastrophe.

“I don’t think there’s anything that has the ability to easily use a tactical nuclear weapon and not reach Armageddon,” Biden said.

He added that he was still trying to track Putin’s “off ramp” in Ukraine.

“Where will he find his way out?” Biden asked. “Where does he find himself in a position where he not only loses face but loses significant power within Russia?”

Putin has repeatedly hinted at using his country’s vast nuclear arsenal, including last month when he announced plans to recruit Russian men into Ukraine.

“I want to remind you that our country also has various sources of destruction and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, for the safety of Russia and our people, we will definitely use our powers,” Putin said. I will use all means.” 21, staring into the camera, adding, “It’s not a bluff.”

White House national security adviser Jack Sullivan said last week that the US had made it “clear” to Russia about the “consequences” of using nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

“This is something that we are taking very seriously, and are having direct discussions with Russia, including a decisive response if they take this dark path,” Sullivan said. What will America do if it goes on,” Sullivan said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said earlier Thursday that Putin understood that the world “will never forgive” a Russian nuclear attack.

“He understands that after the use of nuclear weapons he will no longer be safe, therefore his life, and I believe that,” Zielinski said.

Biden’s comments came during a private fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidates at the Manhattan home of James and Catherine Murdoch. He tends to be more reserved — often speaking with only rough notes — in settings open to only a handful of reporters without cameras or recording devices.

Miller reported from Washington.