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NATO: Use of nuclear weapons will have severe consequences for Russia

WASHINGTON, Oct 2 (KUNA) -- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Sunday that any use of nuclear weapons will have "severe consequences for Russia." In an interview to NBC network, Stoltenberg said "the rhetoric by President (Vladimir) Putin, the nuclear rhetoric, is dangerous. It's reckless." "That's also a reason why we have so clearly conveyed to President Putin that any use of nuclear weapons will have severe consequences for Russia. It will, of course, totally change the nature of the conflict.
"We have also made it clear that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And this is a message that NATO and NATO allies convey clearly to Russia," he continued.
Asked if NATO will fast-track Ukraine into the alliance, he said, "NATO has an open door policy. And every nation, including, of course, also Ukraine, has the right to choose its own path, including what kind of security arrangements it wants to be a part of." "At the same time, any decision on membership has to be taken by consensus. All 30 allies have to agree to make such a decision. And the main focus, the top priority now among NATO allies and partners, is to support Ukraine. They need more support. They need continued support.
Furthermore, he said that the liberation of the city of Lyman in eastern Ukraine "demonstrates that the Ukrainians are making progress, are able to push back the Russian forces because of their courage, because of their bravery and skills.
"But, of course, also because of the advanced weapons that the United States and other allies are providing. And this is making a difference on the battlefield every day," he went on.
On the Nord Stream pipeline explosions, Stoltenberg said "all evidence points, again, that this is sabotage deliberately done by someone against these pipelines." "What is important now is that we support the ongoing investigation, so we get the best possible picture of what happened and are able to establish all of the facts," he added.
He affirmed "any deliberate attack on critical NATO infrastructure will be met with a firm and united response from NATO".
For his part, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in an interview on CNN that aired today "what we're seeing now is a kind of change in the battlefield dynamics".
He affirmed that the Ukrainians have done "very, very well in the Kharkiv area and moved to take advantage of opportunities. The fight in the Kherson region's going a bit slower, but they're making progress." The Pentagon chief said it is "hard to predict" what will happen in Ukraine but affirmed that the US will "continue to provide security assistance to the Ukrainians for as long as it takes". (end) si.gb