Russia Says U.S. Plans for Decapitation Strike Against Putin Are 'Delusional'

A decapitation strike to kill President Vladimir Putin in the heart of the Kremlin—suggested by a Pentagon officer to Newsweek as one of the non-nuclear military options considered by the U.S. Department of Defense to respond to the Russian leader's nuclear threats—is a "delusional" argument escalating a "reckless rhetoric," according to Russia's embassy in Washington, D.C.

The embassy directly addressed Newsweek's article quoting the anonymous Pentagon officer's statement, saying that the possible U.S. reactions to a Russian nuclear strike listed in the piece were "crazy options."

"I would like to believe that such delusional arguments do not reflect the official position of the U.S. military department," the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C. said. "We proceed from the fact that Washington is well aware of the escalating nature of such reckless rhetoric."

Russian embassy Washington DC
In this photo, the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C. in 2018. The Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C. responded to a Newsweek's article quoting a Pentagon officer saying U.S. Defense was considering striking Putin in Moscow in response to a potential Russian nuclear strike. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Thursday, Newsweek published an article detailing the measures the U.S. military is considering in response to a potential nuclear strike by Russia, a prospect made more real by Putin's comment last week that recent threats of using nuclear weapons are "not a bluff."

President Joe Biden said he will respond "forcefully" to any Russian nuclear strike, but members of the U.S. military who talked to Newsweek said they were pondering "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 they also stressed that the use of conventional weapons and special operations are "front and center," including striking Putin in Moscow.

The embassy's statement responding to the article was published by Russia's state-owned news agency RIA Novosti on Friday.

"The diplomatic mission urged the Pentagon not to doubt Russia's determination to defend state sovereignty, territorial integrity and people by all available means," the news agency reported.

Newsweek has reached out to the Pentagon and Russia's Embassy in Washington, D.C. for comment.