The US sees “no reason to change” its nuclear alert levels at this time, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin put Russian nuclear forces on high alert after invading Ukraine.
“We've seen this pattern from President Putin over the course of the last several months and even before then, where he manufactures the threat in order to justify a greater aggressive action,” she told MSNBC in an interview.
“The Russians – President Putin included as the leader of Russia – have committed to taking steps to reduce nuclear threats… Everybody knows that that is not a war that can be won,” she added.
Psaki said: “We have not changed our own alerts, and we have not changed our own assessment in that front, but we also need to be very clear eyed about his own use of threats… What we want to do right now is reduce the rhetoric and deescalate.”
The spokeswoman reaffirmed Washington’s decision to not use US troops to create a no-fly zone in Ukraine, because it “would essentially mean the US military would be shooting down… Russian planes.”
“That is definitely escalatory that would potentially put us into a place where we're in a military conflict with Russia.”
Putin ordered on Sunday Russian nuclear forces on high alert, citing the West’s “aggressive [and] illegitimate sanctions” against Russia as the cause.
On Monday, Russian nuclear missile forces and Northern and Pacific fleets were placed on enhanced combat duty.