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NATO Official Says Russian Use Of Nukes Would Result In 'Physical Response'

Comments come the day before NATO's nuclear group meets

In a series of reports published by Reuters on Oct. 12, unnamed senior officials from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization revealed insight into how they are planning to react to various potential situations in Ukraine.

In the instance of a nuclear strike carried out by Russian forces, NATO sources indicated that there is a high likelihood of other nations getting involved in the conflict and that NATO might become directly involved as well.

The source, who spoke to Reuters and will presumably attend NATO’s nuclear planning group meeting Thursday, told the publication that any use of Russian nuclear arms would “almost certainly be drawing a physical response from many allies, and potentially from NATO itself.”

The topic of discussion for that closed-door nuclear planning group meeting has not been publicly disclosed, but NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the organization would carry out nuclear exercises next week as planned. The exercise, named “Steadfast Noon,” is conducted annually by the alliance and involves mock bombing runs with unarmed aircraft following flight plans similar to those that would be used should NATO ever actually deploy the nuclear arsenal made available through the United States’ involvement with the treaty.

According to another report from Reuters, a senior NATO official also said that their analyses indicate Russia has depleted a “significant portion” of its precision ammunition and that mobilizing 300,000 additional troops may take the country months to complete.

Sanctions imposed on Russia have also restricted its domestic manufacturers’ ability to replenish those ammunition stores.

Speaking in Brussels today for the sixth session of the Ukraine Defense Contract Group, U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin expressed confidence in the Ukrainian resistance to the invasion, citing recent battlefield recoveries of towns previously captured by Russia. In a news conference following the meeting, he told reporters that Ukraine may expand on these gains in the upcoming months.

“I expect that Ukraine will continue to do everything it can throughout the winter, to regain its territory and to be effective on the battlefield,” Austin said.

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