President Joe Biden is warning that the risk of nuclear "Armageddon" is the highest it's been since the Cuban Missile Crisis 60 years ago.
Biden said that there has been a "direct threat" of nuclear weapons' being used, "if, in fact, things continue down the path they are going," referencing the potential for Russia to deploy nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine, NBC News reported.
"We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis" in 1962, the president said during a Democratic fundraiser Thursday night.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin last month doubled down on nuclear threats he made when first invading Ukraine back in February.
"In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly use all means available to us," Putin said, according to The Hill. "This is not a bluff."
Biden further reiterated that Putin is "not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons," the Associated Press reported. The president also suggested the threat from Putin is real "because his military is — you might say — significantly underperforming."
Seeking to clarify the president's off-the-cuff comments, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday told reporters "Russia's talk of using nuclear weapons is irresponsible and there’s no way to use them without unintended consequences," adding that "if the Cuban missile crisis has taught us anything, it is the value of reducing nuclear risk and not brandishing it," according to the AP.
U.S. security officials have said there is no evidence that Putin has imminent plans for a nuclear attack. If Putin were to put nuclear weapons into play, it would cause a massive response from both the U.S. and NATO.