The document says the use of nuclear weapons by Russia, Belarus or their appointees would be considered an attack on NATO. Two influential US senators have introduced a bipartisan draft resolution warning Russia that if it uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine, it would be considered an attack on NATO.
Such an outcome could lead to US intervention in the conflict.
Republican Lindsey Graham and Democrat Richard Blumenthal introduced the draft resolution in response to the transfer of Russian tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus. It is the first time Russian nuclear warheads have been deployed outside the country since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The lawmakers said the move poses a serious threat to global security amid the conflict in Ukraine.
Graham and Blumenthal noted that under their resolution, any use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia, Belarus or their appointees would be considered an attack on NATO, which would claim invoking Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. The destruction of a nuclear facility with dissipation of radioactive contamination on NATO territory could lead to the same reaction.
“The best way to contain this threat is to make clear to Putin’s Russia what will happen if they use nuclear weapons,” Graham said. - Our message to Putin's adherents: if you go for it and follow his orders, if he gives them, you can expect a considerable response from NATO. You will be at war with NATO.”
Blumenthal said the draft resolution was to send a message to Vladimir Putin and his military. “They will be destroyed if they use tactical nuclear weapons or ruin a nuclear plant in a way that threatens the surrounding NATO countries,” Blumenthal noted. – Putin’s generals should take this message seriously. His military risks being completely destroyed by NATO forces if they are as arrogant and irrational as to resort to tactical nuclear weapons.”
The document also calls on Biden administration to consult with NATO leaders and other European partners to develop a comprehensive response if the conflict becomes nuclear.
“The threat of Russia using a nuclear weapon is tangible,” Graham said.
The senators insist they do not want the US military involved in the war. According to them, their goal is the opposite. “We’re trying to avoid involving American troops because of Putin’s wrong assumption that we're just going to sit on the sidelines,” Blumenthal claimed. Legislators hope the resolution will help deter the use of nuclear weapons by giving Putin and his military a chance to evaluate the risks. The senators said they also had a message for fellow lawmakers.
“If you want to avoid a war between Russia and NATO, you must join our efforts,” Graham said.