Biden grants more aid for Ukraine as Russia ‘expands’ nuclear arsenal

Joe Biden's Press Secretary dodges Twitter leak question

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Joe Biden has approved £224million in military aid for Ukraine to strengthen air defences, a news report has claimed. The memo released by the White House comes as the US Defence Secretary warned that Russia is “expanding and modernising its nuclear arsenal”.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin claimed on Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly suggested he could use nuclear weapons after facing setbacks in Ukraine.

Mr Austin’s remarks are in line with a recent Pentagon policy document on nuclear arms.

Russia has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons in the world, with close to 6,000 warheads, according to experts.

He said: “Russia is also modernising and expanding its nuclear arsenal.

“And as the Kremlin continues its cruel and unprovoked war of choice against Ukraine, the whole world has seen Putin engage in deeply irresponsible nuclear saber-rattling.”

Russia and the United States together hold around 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads, enough to destroy the planet many times over.

The military aid announced by Mr Biden includes rockets for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers made by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMTN), 80,000 155mm artillery rounds, Humvee military vehicles and about 150 generators, according to the memo.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters at the White House that the equipment was “on its way.”

But details were scant on two systems, “counter-air defence capability” and “counter-unmanned Aerial Systems equipment,” which appear to be new capabilities for Ukraine.

Earlier on Friday, Putin vowed at a news conference that any country that dared attack Russia with nuclear weapons would be wiped from the face of the earth.

The Russian President said Russia had no mandate to launch a preventative first nuclear strike but that Russia’s advanced hypersonic weapons would ensure the Kremlin could respond forcefully if it ever came under attack.

Putin warned on September 21 the West that he was not bluffing when he said he would be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.

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On September 30, he said the United States had created a precedent by dropping two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945.

Russian officials say the West has repeatedly misinterpreted Kremlin statements.

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