The NATO chief on Thursday promised “severe consequences” if Russia uses nuclear arms in the war in Ukraine.
“Any use of nuclear weapons would fundamentally change the nature of the conflict and have severe consequences,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a news conference following a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.
He also stressed that despite his “dangerous and irresponsible” nuclear rhetoric, Russian President Vladimir Putin knows that he would have to face serious consequences from NATO as Russia would cross a “very important line” even if it deployed “a smaller nuclear arm.”
Stoltenberg declined to share exact details of NATO’s response to such an incident, but asserted that “circumstances in which NATO might have to use nuclear weapons are extremely remote.”
His remarks responded to questions on a recent interview with French President Emmanuel Macron in which he ruled out responding to nuclear strikes in case of Russia’s similar attack on Ukraine to avoid a “global war.”
Stoltenberg also explained that NATO will hold its annual nuclear deterrence training “Steadfast Noon” next week.
The long-planned routine exercise ensures that “NATO’s nuclear capabilities remain safe, secure and effective,” Stoltenberg added.
“Deterrence is the way to prevent any attack on a NATO ally and to preserve peace,” he said, adding that NATO has demonstrated for decades that its nuclear deterrence strategy works.