(MENAFN) The US alerted of "catastrophic consequences" if Moscow used nuclear weapons in Ukraine, following Russia's foreign minister's statement that regions holding widely criticized referendums would be fully protected if annexed.
On Sunday, votes in four eastern Ukrainian regions aimed at annexing territory taken by force mostly since Russia's invasion in February were held for a third day. Within days, the Russian parliament could vote to formalize the annexation.
By trying to incorporate the four areas of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhia into Russia, Moscow could portray retaking them as an attack on Russia itself, a warning to Kyiv and its Western allies.
Because Ukrainian troops are using Western weapons, the Russian annexations raise the prospect of a direct military confrontation between Russia and NATO.
US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said on Sunday that if Russia used nuclear weapons against Ukraine, the US would respond decisively, and that the US had warned Moscow of the "catastrophic consequences."
“If Russia crosses this line, there will be catastrophic consequences for Russia. The United States will respond decisively,” Sullivan informed a news agency.
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