MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Monday it was in “sporadic” contact with the United States on issues related to nuclear arms, days after President Vladimir Putin said he was “not bluffing” over his readiness to use such weapons if Russia felt its territorial integrity was under threat.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the two sides had maintained a limited open channel of dialogue to allow for the “emergency exchange of messages” between the world’s two largest nuclear powers.
“There are channels for dialogue at the proper level, but they are of a very sporadic nature. At least they allow for the exchange of some emergency messages about each other’s positions,” Peskov told reporters.
Putin said last week Moscow would be prepared to use nuclear weapons to “protect Russia and our people” as he announced a mobilisation drive that threatens to significantly escalate the seven-month conflict in Ukraine.
The United States warned Moscow on Sunday of “catastrophic consequences” if it uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States would “respond decisively” if Russia deploys such weapons against its neighbour. He did not elaborate publicly, but said Washington had privately told Moscow “in greater detail exactly what that would mean.”
Peskov declined to comment when asked what the United States had told Russia it meant by “catastrophic consequences.”
(Reporting by Reuters)