U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin warned on Nov. 20 that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin “may resort again to profoundly irresponsible nuclear saber-rattling” if the Kremlin keeps losing against Ukrainian troops.
Autocrats worldwide may race to acquire nuclear weapons if Russia isn’t successfully repelled, Austin said.
“They could well conclude that getting nuclear weapons would give them a hunting license of their own. And that could drive a dangerous spiral of nuclear proliferation,” he said.
Austin said there’s no option but to assist in Ukraine’s fight since peace talks are unlikely any time soon. He added that helping to defend the country was in the U.S. national interest.