Russian President Vladimir Putin told a recent TV program that Moscow was ready to put its nuclear forces on alert to cope with the possible intervention by NATO when the pro-Moscow Ukrainian government of Viktor Yanukovych was brought down and pro-Western elements seized power in Kiev in February 2014.

What he disclosed can be taken to mean that Russia was ready to threaten the United States and European nations over the Ukraine crisis with nuclear arms. It would be extremely irresponsible of Russia — a nuclear-weapons state and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council — to use its nuclear weapons as a threat. Putin should seek to resolve Russia’s conflicts with its neighbors through diplomacy and pledge never to resort to threats of nuclear warfare.

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