NATO chief warns Putin not to use nuclear weapons, while EU foreign policy chief advised Russia will face the annihilation of its armed forces

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg warned Russia Thursday not to cross "a very important line" of using nuclear weapons.

Both NATO and Russia are scheduled to hold nuclear exercises this month.

NATO Headquarters Brussels, Oct. 14 (– A meeting of NATO’s secretive Nuclear Planning Group was held among defense ministers in Brussels, as concerns deepen over Putin’s insistence that he will use any means necessary to defend Russian territory. NATO is believed to have warned its members about the possibility the Russian dictator may have decided to detonate a nuke on Ukraine's borders, in an escalation designed to terrify the West. A senior defense source, however, said that a more likely demonstration of Putin’s readiness to use nuclear weapons could come in the Black Sea, The Times of London reports.

Asked what NATO would do if Russia launched a nuclear attack, NATO General Secretary Stoltenberg said: “We will not go into exactly how we will respond, but of course, this will fundamentally change the nature of the conflict. It will mean that a very important line has been crossed.” He added that "even any use of a smaller nuclear weapon will be a very serious thing, fundamentally changing the nature of the war in Ukraine, and of course, that would have consequences."

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell also warned Putin not to cross that threshold. “Any nuclear attack against Ukraine will create an answer, not a nuclear answer but such a powerful answer from the military side that the Russian Army will be annihilated,” he said in a speech in Bruges, Belgium.

People protesting against Russian aggression against UkraineMeanwhile, Vladimir Putin warns against Western involvement in Ukraine, declared he has 'no regrets' over conflict with Ukraine, and warns a clash with NATO would lead to a 'global catastrophe'. As his war plans have gone awry, Putin has repeatedly signaled that he could resort to nuclear weapons to protect the Russian gains. The threat is also aimed at deterring NATO nations from sending more sophisticated weapons to Ukraine. Fabrice Pothier, head of the political consultancy firm Rasmussen Global, said that NATO members were attempting to balance their support for Ukraine without worsening an already fragile situation.

NATO's scheduled nuclear exercises known as "Steadfast Noon" will involve 14 member countries. The main part of the maneuvers will be held more than 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) from Russia. NATO as an organization does not have any weapons but is a forum where its members coordinate their military and defense plans. Nuclear weapons nominally linked to the alliance remain under the control of three member countries: the U.S., the U.K., and France. On its part, France insists on maintaining its nuclear independence and doesn't take part in Nuclear Planning Group meetings.

"We have a nuclear doctrine, which is clear," President Macron said. "The dissuasion is working. But then, the less we talk about it, the less we brandish the threat, the more credible we are ..." "Too many people are talking about it," he added.

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