Russia Says Situation With U.S. Is Much Worse Than Cuban Missile Crisis

A Russian government news agency said Friday that Washington likening President Vladimir Putin's nuclear threats to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis is "nonsense," suggesting that the country's situation with the U.S. is much worse.

RIA Novosti columnist Victoria Nikiforova directly addressed a Newsweek article that cited a Pentagon officer as saying that decapitation strike to kill the Russian leader in the heart of the Kremlin is one of the non-nuclear military options considered by the U.S. Department of Defense in response to his nuclear threats.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) member states at the Konstantin Palace presidential residence in Strelna, outside Saint Petersburg, on October 7, 2022. He has said he will use "all available means" to protect Russia's interests. ALEXEY DANICHEV/SPUTNIK/AFP/Getty Images

"After such statements from high-ranking US military officials, any comparisons with the Caribbean crisis seem to be just nonsense," the RIA Novosti report said. "It looks like we have long since left this crisis behind us.

"Never during the Cold War did the Americans allow themselves to be so brazen about plotting to assassinate the leader of the Soviet Union," Nikiforova wrote.

It comes after Newsweek on September 29 published an article detailing the measures under consideration by the U.S. military in response to a potential nuclear strike by Russia.

On September 21, Putin said in a televised address, "If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will without doubt use all available means to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff."

And on September 30, during a speech in which he announced the illegal annexation of four areas in Ukraine, the Kremlin chief said Russia would use "all available means" to defend the regions. Putin added that Washington had "created a precedent" for nuclear strikes by using the weapons in World War II.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said he will respond "forcefully" to any Russian nuclear strike, but members of the U.S. military who talked to Newsweek said they were considering "whether other [non-nuclear] threats are powerful enough to deter Putin."

The military sources who talked to our magazine, who asked to remain anonymous, said "there are subtle moves being made with regard to nuclear threats, including moving submarines and aircraft and drilling B-52 bombers."

But the U.S. military people also said that the use of conventional weapons and special operations are "front and center," including striking Putin in Moscow.

Biden on Thursday repeated his concerns about Putin's nuclear threats, adding that the risk of a nuclear "Armageddon" is at its highest level since the Cuban missile crisis.

In 1962, the Soviet Union under its leader Nikita Khrushchev, and then-U.S. President John Kennedy, came close to using nuclear weapons over the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

"For the first time since the Cuban missile crisis, we have a direct threat to the use of nuclear weapons, if in fact things continue down the path they'd been going," Biden said in New York.

"We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban missile crisis," the president said.

Biden added that Putin is "not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming."

Newsweek has contacted the Pentagon for comment.