US President Joe Biden has warned that Russia may be preparing to use chemical and biological weapons in the war against Ukraine.
Addressing a meeting of business leaders in Washington Monday, Biden said there was a danger Russian President Vladimir Putin could resort to more severe tactics as he has “his back to the wall” as a result of Ukrainian resistance.
Russia was counting on being able to split NATO, but “NATO has never been stronger or more united in its entire history than it is today, in large part because of Vladimir Putin,” Biden said at a Quarterly Meeting of CEOs at the Business Roundtable Office in Washington, D.C.
“And now Putin’s back is against the wall. He wasn’t anticipating the extent or the strength of our unity. And the more his back is against the wall, the greater the severity of the tactics he may employ”.
“We’ve seen it before. He’s run a lot of false-flag operations. Whenever he starts talking about something he thinks NATO, Ukraine, or the United States is about to do, it means he’s getting ready to do it,” Biden told the business leaders.
Putin is asserting that the United States has biological as well as chemical weapons in Europe, which is “simply not true,” according to Biden.
“They’re also suggesting that Ukraine has biological and chemical weapons in Ukraine. That’s a clear sign he is considering using both of those. He’s already used chemical weapons in the past, and we should be careful of what’s about to come. He knows there’ll be severe consequences because of the united NATO front.”
Biden also warned of the possibility of Russia using cyberattacks against the U.S. in response to increasingly damaging sanctions. He admitted that Russia has a very sophisticated cyber capability.
He urged private sector partners to take immediate action to shore up their defenses against potential cyberattacks.
Earlier in the day, the White House issued renewed warnings that based on evolving intelligence, the Russian government is exploring options for cyber attacks on critical infrastructure in the United States.
Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Senior Advisor Cedric Richmond, and National Economic Council Director Brian Deese met with 16 CEOs of major companies across several industries including energy, food, and manufacturing.
They conveyed the Administration’s commitment to continue imposing heavy costs on Putin to degrade Russia’s war machine and support the people of Ukraine, while taking concrete actions to mitigate the price increases on American consumers caused by Putin’s action.
The red alert gains significance because ahead of the war, Biden has been consistently raising concern that a Russian invasion of Uklraine is imminent, in spite of Moscow’s denial.
It has been nearly a month since Russia invaded Ukraine, and Russian forces have been unable to achieve what Pentagon leaders believe to be their goals.
“We’re on day 26 the Russians have clearly not achieved many, or almost all of the objectives that … we believe they were setting out to achieve,” Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said during a briefing Monday. “They wanted to get after population centers so that they could take control of key ports, key cities, key government institutions. And supplant the government of Ukraine with one more friendly to Russia and then, basically, over time, erase the sovereignty of Ukraine.”
Pentagon leaders assess the Russians have taken Kherson and Berdyansk, a port city on the Sea of Azov, but nearby Mariupol hasn’t fallen.
Having failed to achieve a lot of their objectives on the ground, Russian forces have stepped up long-range fires on cities, Kirby said.
They are still stalled outside capital Kyiv, Kharkiv and Chernihiv, due to exceptional resistance put up by the Ukrainians, he told reporters.
Russia has stepped up bombardment to try to force the cities surrender, taking a toll on civilians and civilian infrastructure.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky repeated his call for direct talks with his Russian counterpart, saying it would not be possible to negotiate an end to the war unless they met. But he told CNN that if the proposed talks with Putin fail, it could result in a wider war.
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