US President Joe Biden at the NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. Source: Reuters
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  • The White House has set up a team of experts to plan how the United States could respond should Russia use weapons of mass destruction during its invasion of Ukraine
  • President Joe Biden said on Thursday that if Russia were to use chemical weapons in its invasion of Ukraine, the US would respond
  • The White House National Security Council sent an internal memo to agencies on February 28 to create a strategy group to examine major geopolitical shifts that are occurring as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine
  • A US official said the strategy group is making contingency plans for various scenarios and is working “to monitor and mitigate risks, while considering how to advance and defend US interests”

The White House has set up a team of experts to plan how the United States could respond should Russia use weapons of mass destruction — chemical, biological or nuclear — during its invasion of Ukraine, senior administration officials said yesterday.

Russia has raised the prospect of using nuclear weapons as it struggles to overcome Ukraine’s military during the month-old war that the Russian government calls a “special operation”, alluding that such weapons will be used in an “existential threat”.

US officials have responded by warning Russia that its accusation of Ukraine using chemical weapons is a lie, and also an indication that Moscow may resort to their use.

President Joe Biden said on Thursday that if Russia were to use chemical weapons in its invasion of Ukraine, the US would respond.

“We would respond … if he uses it. The nature of the response would depend on the nature of the use,” Biden, who is currently at the G20 Summit with NATO leaders, said at a news conference in Brussels.

The White House National Security Council sent an internal memo to agencies on February 28 to create a strategy group to examine major geopolitical shifts that are occurring as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, officials said.

One US official said that the strategy group is working “to monitor and mitigate risks, while considering how to advance and defend US interests” and are currently making contingency plans for various scenarios including Russia’s potential use of chemical or biological weapons and the growing refugee crisis.

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