Former US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, has told Russian President Vladimir Putin to be worried about the United States over Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov’s refusal to rule out the use of nuclear weapons during the Ukraine conflict.
Peskov had earlier on Tuesday said that nuclear weapons could be used if Russia faced an “existential threat” amid the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine.
Russia presently has the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear warheads and Putin had last month ordered the invasion of Ukraine over disagreements on some political issues.
But Panetta has now criticized Peskov’s comments, insisting that Putin should also be worried about his own survival.
Speaking on the development, Panetta told CNN: “I don’t see how you can see it any other way but as dangerous when Russia is looking for a possible excuse for the use of low-yield nuclear weapons.
“And basing it frankly on a very false premise that somehow Russia is being threatened. I think that presents a real concern that Russia at least is considering that possibility.
“I don’t know that it’s going to happen. I still think that Putin has to worry about how the US would respond and he has to worry about his own survival.”