Russian President Vladimir Putin’s right-hand man, Nikolai Patrushev, issued a stern warning on Wednesday. He cautioned that the U.S. and its western allies are engaged in “destructive” policies that risk an outbreak of nuclear, chemical or biological war.
Relations between Russia and the West crumbled with last year’s invasion of Ukraine. The Cold War-style escalation of hostilities had not been seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis gripped the globe in 1962.
Patrushev declared the current situation is indicative of the decline of America’s position in the world order.
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Addressing the official Russian news agency TASS, he asserted “the natural consequence of the United States’ destructive policies is the deterioration in global security…The international arms control regime has been undermined.”
While not providing specifics on the deployment of weapons of mass destruction, Patrushev accused the U.S. government of failing to maintain Middle Eastern peace and fueling the war between Russia and Ukraine.
The former KGB officer worked with Putin in the 1970s in the security apparatus of the old Soviet Union. He is considered a strong ally of the president and his word carries much weight in the Kremlin.
Patrushev’s statements to TASS came on the heels of criticism from Washington over Moscow’s Tuesday decision to abandon a security agreement reached after the Cold War.
Russia is no longer part of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces, a move the U.S. said signals its rejection of arms control.
The Biden administration previously warned that the Kremlin’s military forces could resort to tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield with Ukraine. Putin roundly dismissed Washington’s concerns.
Now the Kremlin is dominated by hawks who consider the collapse of the Soviet Union as a low-water mark in Russian history. They also view the U.S. as the chief instigator of the end of the Soviet era and their primary foe.
Patrushev is front and center in these circles as he leads Russia’s Security Council. He flatly stated that “Anglo-Saxons and the collective West as a whole are losing influence.”
The Biden administration believes that Russia is Washington’s largest nation-state threat. The president predicted that the remainder of the 21st century will be a battle between democratic nations and autocratic ones.