Direct Conflict With Nuclear Powers Russia, China 'Possible'—U.S. Commander

The U.S. Strategic Commander has spoken about the reality of the the U.S. entering a conflict with China and Russia following a speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to a U.S. Department of Defense report published on Wednesday, Navy Admiral Charles A. Richard joined a panel discussion on the issues facing the U.S. regarding national security.

This comes after Putin announced that Russia would further escalate the conflict in Ukraine.

In a pre-recorded speech on Wednesday, Putin outlined there would be a partial mobilization of Russian forces against Ukraine.

Putin Biden
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting on the military industrial complex at the Kremlin, September 20, 2022, in Moscow, Russia. US President Joe Biden speaks during the Global Fund Seventh Replenishment Conference in New York on September 21, 2022. Mandel Ngan/Getty

In addition to this, he issued a warning to the West and insisted he was not bluffing about potentially using nuclear weaponry.

Speaking on a panel to discuss national security, Richard said: "All of us in this room are back in the business of contemplating competition through crisis and possible direct armed conflict with a nuclear-capable peer.

"We have not had to do that in over 30 years. The implications of that are profound.

"They're profound for homeland defense. They're profound for strategic deterrence as well as us achieving national objectives. And this is no longer theoretical.

The panel discussion on "America Under Attack—Defending the Homeland" was held during the Air & Space Forces Association's 2022 Air, Space & Cyber Conference, at National Harbor, Maryland.

Every Defense Department plan and capability rests on an assumption that strategic deterrence, and in particular nuclear deterrence, is holding, Richard said. If that assumption isn't met, nothing else in the department or the joint force is going to work the way that it was designed.

Richard went on to warn of the dangers that Russia and China now pose to the U.S. specifically.

"Russia and China can escalate to any level of violence that they choose in any domain with any instrument of power worldwide," Richard continued.

"We just haven't faced competitors and opponents like that in a long time.

The nuclear posture review that was recently delivered lays out an excellent strategy, he said. The strategy endorses modernization of the nuclear triad and its command-and-control system.

He continued: "We need to execute this very good strategy as the threat from China continues to increase.

"We don't know where that's going to end, as the threat from Russia continues to increase, along with the other challenges that we face."

In his address, Putin said he was willing to respond to what he described as the West's "nuclear blackmail" by using his country's own weapons, strongly implying the possibility of nuclear strikes.

"If Russia feels its territorial integrity is threatened, we will use all defense methods at our disposal, and this is not a bluff," the Russian president said.

Putin said that he had "lots of weapons to reply" to perceived threats from Western nations, which have imposed crippling sanctions since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on February 24.

"Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the winds can also turn in their direction," Putin said.

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.