Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said this week that the U.S. shouldn’t rule out nuking Russia over the Ukraine conflict.
During an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Tuesday, Wicker said the U.S. should consider military action toward Russia in numerous forms, such as a naval standoff with warships in the Black Sea, or outright military participation such as troops and nukes.
“It could mean that we participate, and I would not rule that out, I would not rule out American troops on the ground. We don’t rule out first use nuclear action,” he explained, while not outright calling for such actions.
In a subsequent interview with CNN’s Ana Cabrera, Wicker said he didn’t want President Joe Biden to “rule out anything” in terms of taking action in the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“I think the thing to do is not take anything off the table,” Wicker said. “You know, when it comes to our nuclear policy, if you’ll recall, we don’t take things off the table there. We make it clear that every option is open. That’s been a policy of Democrats and Republicans, administration in and administration out.”
Some U.S. troops are already on the ground in Ukraine, as they have been serving in an allied partnership to support and train Ukrainian troops.
On Wednesday morning before he departed the White House, Biden told reporters that putting U.S. troops on the ground was “not on the table.”
“The idea the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia from invading Ukraine is not on — in the cards right now,” Biden reiterated.
During a Tuesday video call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Biden threatened the U.S. would respond with “strong economic and other measures” if Russia takes military actions against Ukraine.
A White House press release of the call said Biden “voiced the deep concerns of the United States and our European Allies about Russia’s escalation of forces surrounding Ukraine” and warned the U.S and its allies would work together to bring “strong economic and other measures” against Russia.
Biden also “reiterated his support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called for de-escalation and a return to diplomacy.”
On Wednesday, Biden told reporters directly of the call, “I made it very clear: If, in fact, he invades Ukraine, there will be severe consequences — severe consequences — and economic consequences like none he’s ever seen or ever have been seen, in terms of being imposed.”
On Wednesday, Russia sent a letter to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow “warning about the dangerous consequences” the U.S. would incur if it continued military flights and naval ship activity near Russia’s borders, according to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Russia has continued its weeks-long Russian military build-up near its border with Ukraine. Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. is seeing signs of Russian “plans for significant aggressive moves against Ukraine.”