With NATO-Russia tensions boiling, the enduring fog of war on the ground in Ukraine, and constantly ratcheting rhetoric which has even of late dangerously included nuclear threats - this seems almost like an invitation for yet more escalation... not to mention the competing information war which has seen all sides consistently allege false flags in the works... Foreign Policy's Pentagon correspondent reports the following on Tuesday:
Russian use of chemical or biological weapons against Ukraine would likely trigger a "reaction from the international community": U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin Russia could also escalate the Ukraine conflict with a cyber attack, Austin said.
The warning came as Pentagon leaders briefed lawmakers at a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Defense Budget.
Austin had issued a similar warning of a "significant reaction" from the West if Russia were to use chemical weapons or WMD in Ukraine a month ago during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation".
In the early part of April, there had actually been attempts of Ukrainian Azov militants to claim they were victims of a Russian chemical gas attack - but this was met by general skepticism among many war analysts and media pundits - despite UK government attempts to give it credibility.
Austin this week repeating the chemical attack possibility, despite there being no evidence of Russia's intent, keeps the door wide open for Ukrainian fighters who are no doubt desperate for direct Western intervention in the war to float the claims again.
US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley also gave his assessment of how Russia's war is going in the Congressional testimony. He said we are now witnessing "the greatest threat to peace and security of Europe and perhaps the world” in decades.
"The Russian invasion of Ukraine is threatening to undermine not only European peace and stability, but global peace and stability that my parents and generations of Americans fought so hard to defend," Milley said.
On the question of whether a broader war could break out, he said:
"The potential for significant international conflict between great powers is increasing, not decreasing."
He described that the US is “at a very critical and historic geo-strategic inflection point,” meaning the US military ust “maintain readiness and modernize for the future” at the same time. And more via Reuters wire:
- U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHINA AND RUSSIA IS THAT THE FIRST IS A CHALLENGE AND THE SECOND HAS BECOME A REAL-TIME THREAT
- U.S. DEFENSE SECRETARY: WAR IN UKRAINE CHANGES AND COMING WEEKS WILL BE CRUCIAL
Meanwhile, at China's Foreign Ministry...
“Not an inch of #NATO’s present military jurisdiction will spread in an eastern direction.”— Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 (@zlj517) May 3, 2022
—Memorandum of conversation between Mikhail Gorbachev and James Baker in Moscow, 9 Feb 9 1990 pic.twitter.com/2dNqJkN2gs
"If we do not do that, then we are risking security of future generations,” Milley stressed. The top general had also in the testimony said that while China poses a "challenge" for the United States, the Ukraine invasion has now made Russia "a real-time threat".