CIA Chief Says Threat Russia Could Use Nuclear Weapons Is Something U.S. Cannot ‘Take Lightly’SOURCE: RFE/RL (Reuters/AP)

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CIA Chief Says Threat Russia Could Use Nuclear Weapons Is Something U.S. Cannot ‘Take Lightly’

CIA Director William Burns
CIA Director William Burns

CIA Director William Burns said the threat of Russia potentially using nuclear weapons in Ukraine could not be taken lightly, but the agency had not seen much evidence reinforcing that concern.

During a speech on April 14, Burns spoke of the “potential desperation” and setbacks faced by Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose forces have suffered heavy losses and have been forced to retreat from some parts of northern Ukraine after failing to capture Kyiv.

“Given the potential desperation of President Putin and the Russian leadership, given the setbacks that they’ve faced so far, militarily, none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons,” Burns said.

The Kremlin said it placed Russian nuclear forces on high alert shortly after it launched its unprovoked war on Ukraine on February 24, but the United States has not seen “a lot of practical evidence” of actual deployments that would cause more worry, Burns added, speaking to students at Georgia Tech university.

“We’re obviously very concerned. I know President Biden is deeply concerned about avoiding a third world war, about avoiding a threshold in which, you know, nuclear conflict becomes possible,” Burns said.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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