US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that the White House is not going to make a gradation of possible Russian nuclear strikes on Ukraine and the United States' response will not depend on what weapon will be used - tactical or strategic.
According to him, the answer will not be just sanctions. “The use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine is the use of nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine. We're not going to cut the salami." The phrase about slicing salami refers to the gradual introduction of conditions in negotiations to achieve a result, instead of one abrupt, “indigestible” action, explains DW.
Sullivan also said that NATO allies and other responsible countries, including China and India, should "send a very clear and strong signal to Russia" that it should not even consider the option of using nuclear weapons.
Earlier, NATO and US officials said they would be able to accurately monitor any Russian nuclear activity during the Thunder exercise, during which the Russian Federation would conduct live missile launches and deploy strategic facilities. “We will follow this as always. And, of course, we will remain vigilant, not least in light of the veiled nuclear threats and dangerous nuclear rhetoric we have seen from the Russian side,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Thursday.
Simultaneously with Russia, NATO begins nuclear exercises on October 17, writes CNN. 14 countries are participating in the Steady Afternoon exercise. According to the Pentagon, it has been held annually for more than a decade. Fighters capable of carrying nuclear warheads will participate in the exercise, but there will be no military weapons on board. The US will provide B-52 bombers flying from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The main exercise area will be more than 625 miles (1,000 km) away from Russia.
According to NATO, up to 60 aircraft will be involved, including modern fighters, reconnaissance aircraft and tanker aircraft. The flights will take place over Belgium, Great Britain and the North Sea.