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By Humeyra Pamuk
WASHINGTON, Oct 24 (Reuters) – There would be consequences for Russia whether it uses a so-called “dirty bomb” or any other nuclear weapon, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on Monday.
Washington and other Western countries have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of plotting to escalate action in Ukraine based on a pretext that Moscow believes Kyiv will use a “dirty bomb,” a device laced with nuclear material.
“It would certainly be another example of President’s brutality, if he were to use a so called ‘dirty bomb.’ There would be consequences for Russia whether it uses a ‘dirty bomb’ or a nuclear bomb. We’ve been very clear about that,” Price told reporters.
He added that it was important that Moscow know the “profound nature of the consequences” that would befall the country should it engage in nuclear use.
He did not detail those consequences nor say whether they would be different depending on the type of weapon.
Price said the United States has not seen any indication that Russia is preparing to use a nuclear weapon, but concern over the possible use of a “dirty bomb” was sparked by Russian officials’ warnings that Ukraine was preparing to use such a bomb.
“We know the Kremlin’s track record when it comes to these types of claims. That’s of course what is the predicate, what ultimately undergirds our concerns,” Price said.
The United States has not seen any reason to adjust its own nuclear posture, he added. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; additional reporting by Simon Lewis and Ismail Shakil; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)