Today, American news site Newsmax reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered that Russian nuclear arsenal be put on “high alert” in response to what he allegedly termed “aggressive statements” by the NATO powers.

This means that Putin ordered Russia’s nuclear weapons be prepared for “increased readiness to launch” and the threat of nuclear warfare is now raised.

Following this threat, former Putin economic adviser and now senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington D.C. Andrei Illarionov told Newsmax in an interview “This particular decision is not in response to the situation in Ukraine, not even what is going on in Ukraine right now, but as a response to American readiness to apply sanctions. So, the situation now is unbelievably grave. It is incomparable to an hour ago, and to yesterday.”

He stated with some urgency that, now, if the United States will not respond with an adequate reaction to this decision, it means not only Ukraine but the whole of Europe and at some point the United States will be under direct nuclear threat.

He added that the United States and NATO countries need to respond immediately to this nuclear blackmail, and that the response must be at least the same nuclear readiness as Putin’s, meaning that all nuclear arsenal of the United States and NATO must be on the highest alert.

Illarionov said that this “absolutely changes the whole game” and that Putin’s goal is not Ukraine and not even about Europe. Illarionov said that Putin has said very clearly for the last few weeks, and especially yesterday, that his goal is the 1997 line in Europe, which means half of Europe would be under his sphere of influence. He added that to get this Putin needs to humiliate the United States and NATO and that he is dong exactly that right now.

Illarionov stated “if there will be no response from the United States and NATO, Putin will proceed with his plan” and added that this “is about the whole world.” He repeated that it cannot be predicted what will happen if there is no response from the United States Government and the NATO administration.

When asked what the United States should do, he answered that sanctions and closing airspace is already too late, as Putin launched a new level of the geopolitical game.

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