President Biden warned early this week that the threat of Russian President Vladimir Putin using tactical nuclear weapons is "real."
The president made the comments to donors during a trip to California. "When I was out here about two years ago saying I worried about the Colorado River drying up, everybody looked at me like I was crazy," he said, according to Reuters. "They looked at me like when I said I worry about Putin using tactical nuclear weapons. It’s real," Biden added.
Biden has previously recognized that the policy of the US and NATO backing Ukraine against Russia risks nuclear war. In October 2022, he said the chances of "nuclear armageddon" were higher than at any point since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.
But since warning of nuclear armageddon, Biden has done nothing to ease tensions with Russia and has escalated US involvement in the war, including by giving the green light for European countries to send US-made F-16s to Kyiv.
Biden administration officials have also repeatedly expressed support for Ukrainian attacks on Crimea using US-made weapons, which is a major redline for Russia.
According to a recent report from The New York Times, the administration has "shrugged off" Ukrainian attacks inside Russia as US officials are no longer as concerned about escalation as they were earlier in the war.
The report said that during the first year of the war, Biden administration officials worried that if Ukraine hit targets inside Russia, Moscow could retaliate against NATO. But those fears are gone as the administration does not seem concerned over the recent attacks inside Russia, which have included drone attacks on residential areas in Moscow and a cross-border raid in Russia’s Belgorod region that was carried out using US armored vehicles.
"It’s not like we’re going to go out and investigate this," White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters when asked if the US thought Ukraine was behind the attacks in Moscow. According to the Times, administration officials seem even less concerned behind closed doors.