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Trudy Rubin: Ukraine’s sudden breakthrough that should energize Western support

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Trudy Rubin: Ukraine’s Sudden Breakthrough That Should Energize Western Support
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An elderly Ukrainian village woman comes to her garden gate and freezes as she watches a soldier approach. Then she puts her hand to her mouth, and begins to sob. As the soldier embraces her, she hugs him back, intensely.

He is Ukrainian, part of a force that has liberated numerous villages and the key city of Izium from Russian occupation over the weekend. The meeting between the soldier and the villager was captured in a video that went viral during the lightning counteroffensive in northeast Ukraine that drove Russian forces back from much of the Kharkiv region. The Ukrainian military plans were kept so secret, and the advance was so speedy, that it stunned most foreign observers (myself included) and most Ukrainians I’ve spoken to since then.

This is the biggest military victory for Ukraine since its forces drove the Russians back from Kyiv in March, when it blocked Vladimir Putin’s plans to kill or capture President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “The strategic initiative is ours for the first time since the war started,” former parliament member Yehor Soboliev, who now serves in the army, told me via WhatsApp on Sunday morning.

The counteroffensive has propelled the war into a new phase in which Ukraine is regaining territory, instead of being stuck in a drawn-out war of attrition. This blitz happened even though Ukraine is still short of all the vital long-range weapons it needs to counter the rockets and missiles that destroy its cities and soldiers.

“The stalemate phase of the war is over,” said retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, former commander of the United States Army Europe, speaking by phone from Germany. “We are in a different phase of the conflict now.”

 

So how did this turnaround happen, and what does it mean for the future of the war?

Two main factors appear to be key:

First, Russian occupation forces collapsed across the front lines in the northeast. Hodges told me he was sure that Russian foot soldiers “would crack because they are exhausted, and are not being resupplied, and their officers are being killed. They don’t have cohesion in the ranks or the will to fight.”

Russian logistics supplies have been disrupted by the fairly recent delivery of advanced mobile rocket launchers from the United States, Britain, and Germany. (While very grateful for the weapons, many Ukrainians believe if they had had them sooner, the war might be almost over by now.)

So the Russian lines broke, while their troops fled or were captured, leaving behind enormous amounts of equipment, fuel, and ammunition. (This matches the stories I heard on my recent trip to Ukraine, where Ukrainian troops poured scorn on Russia’s unprofessional soldiers, who, they told me, often leave their dead behind.)

Even so, the scope of the rout was a shocker. “I am surprised at how the Russia army failed and is running away,” Odesa’s war-savvy member of parliament, Olexsiy Goncharenko, told me via WhatsApp on Sunday.

But equally key was the strategy and professionalism of Ukrainian military planners (helped greatly by shared U.S. intelligence information). They duped Russian generals into sending tens of thousands of their best forces south by heavily publicizing a planned counteroffensive to retake the strategic port of Kherson. That left northern Russian defense lines undermanned.

Meantime, the Ukrainians maintained operational silence about their plans for the north, an astonishing feat while moving masses of equipment without detection. Their blitz appeared to take Russian forces completely by surprise.

 

Ukrainians have no illusions that the war is over.

Putin still seems ready to absorb limitless military casualties and still has huge supplies of artillery and ammunition. Putin’s forces still occupy roughly one-fifth of Ukrainian territory, along with most of its coastline. Russia continues to pound Ukrainian cities and troops with rockets and missiles that have caused tens of thousands of casualties. Putin will look for more ways to inflict pain.

“But such successes” — as this past weekend — “show us the way,” said Soboliev, whose WhatsApp line kept dying because he was speaking from a forest while serving with his unit.

Ukrainian forces, he says, have demonstrated that they can carry out fast, well-planned operations during which innovative junior officers think on their feet. The Russian military still suffers from a top-down system where lower cadres are afraid to act without orders. This cumbersome structure doomed Russian efforts to take Kyiv — and helped Ukrainians achieve their weekend triumph.

In this new phase of the war, Hodges says it is critical for the West to stick together in aiding Kyiv. Western leaders, he adds, should speed up delivery of the long-range precision systems that Ukraine needs to target Russian logistics and destroy their artillery.

If the Ukrainians get the weapons they need from America and Europe, and get them fast, Hodges believes “the Russians could be pushed back to the Feb. 23 lines by the end of the year.”

(Moscow occupied Crimea and part of the Donbas region after a 2014 invasion, before Putin’s second invasion started on Feb. 24.)

But, Hodges added, if Ukraine retakes more of its land in the south, “Crimea is feasible by early next year, although it could go faster. In warfare there is a psychological aspect. There is panic as a cascading effect sets in.”

This may be vastly over-optimistic, but the drama of the past weekend indicates it is not beyond imagination. The Biden team and its European allies should do their best to help make Hodges’ prediction come true.

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Collapse or clinch? Loons’ season comes down to Decision Day

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Collapse Or Clinch? Loons’ Season Comes Down To Decision Day
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Minnesota United is on the brink of a complete collapse.

After being the hottest team in MLS in July and August and rising to third place in the Western Conference, the Loons are winless in the past six games, and given their form, on the verge of crashing out of the MLS Cup Playoffs field.

MNUFC, in the seventh and final playoff spot, needs a win or a draw against Vancouver in the Decision Day finale at 4 p.m. Sunday at Allianz Field to clinch a seed. If Minnesota loses to the Whitecaps, the club will miss out on the playoffs for the first time in four years.

The Loons could have clinched a playoff spot last weekend, but lost 2-0 at San Jose, the last-place team in the West.

“Right now, it’s flushing it, man, flushing it down the toilet,” captain Wil Trapp said Tuesday about how players are bouncing back. “Realizing there’s things that weren’t good enough in that game, and Vancouver is an organized opponent. They are going to very cagey in this affair.”

Are the Loons going to scratch and claw like their own playoff lives are on the line?

Manager Adrian Heath said postgame Saturday the Earthquakes wanted to win more than the Loons, and the sixth-year boss openly wondered about some of the players’ makeup. On Tuesday, he increased the scope: “As a staff, we have to take responsibility for that.”

Heath reported Friday a “good intensity” and “sense of purpose” in this week’s training. But we’ll see if that translates to Sunday.

Loons supporters are expected to bring it with the largest crowd in the four-year history of Allianz Field. The current mark is an announced attendance of 19,939 at the club’s first playoff game against the L.A. Galaxy in 2019.

The Loons’ preseason objective was to host a home playoff game. Despite the 0-5-1 skid, that’s somehow still possible — given how other teams have not made Minnesota pay for its poor stretch. If Minnesota wins and L.A. Galaxy, Nashville and Portland each drop points, the Loons could still host a first-round game in St. Paul.

“We’ve been fortunate,” Trapp said. “But we are only fortunate if we take advantage of it.”

The depths of this skid are historic. The Loons were also 0-5-1 in midsummer 2018 but that team was nowhere near as talented or deep as this year’s squad. That 2018 team had a minus-8 goal differential during its skid, while this year’s slump has a minus-12 goal differential.

The issues have been both offensive and defensive. Minnesota has allowed at least two goals in four of those six games while scoring just two goals total during that stretch. The Loons have been shut out four times.

“It’s strange because we had that long run where we lost one game in (11) and we had the best record for that period of time,” Heath said. “We are doing no different (things) than what we were doing then. This is the way sport is. Sometimes you can’t put your finger on it.”

The Loons’ slide came after No. 1 center back Bakaye Dibassy was lost for the season in the 2-1 win over Houston at the end of August. Minnesota is winless since, allowing 14 goals in six games (2.3 per game), including three in three minutes of a 3-0 defeat to Dallas and three over 15 minutes in a 4-1 drubbing at Kansas City.

Trapp said they need a “single-minded focus” on the task at hand and an emphasis on scoring the first goal. Minnesota is 14-4-4 when it nets the opener, including in the 1-1 draw with first-place LAFC on Sept. 13 — the Loons’ only point in the last 18 available.

That also was the last game Robin Lod played. The Loons midfielder exited at halftime and missed the next two games with a calf injury. He trained fully Friday, and barring a setback, he should be available to play Sunday.

Lod was in central midfield during the team’s hot stretch and could be back there again Sunday, with Kervin Arriaga suspended due to yellow-card accumulation.

“(Lod’s) an important piece, wherever we play him,” Heath said. Heath downplayed a fitness concern given Lod’s last game was nearly a month ago, saying he did cardio work without it affecting the injury.

Lungs will get a workout Sunday. Vancouver needs a win to jump over the Loons and into the playoffs, which means it will be going for goals. That’s just like Minnesota, which will likely create a wide-open and wild game.

The Whitecaps have won three straight games at home, scoring multiple goals in each. “They will be coming in with a lot of confidence,” Heath said.

The Loons were in a similar spot in the 2021 season finale and got a 3-3 result at L.A. Galaxy to net a spot on a wild Decision Day.

I know our supporters are going to be up for the game,” Heath said. “I know the players have to be up for the game. We’ve got to show more than we have in the last few weeks.”

BRIEFLY

Attacking midfielder Bongi Hlongwane (knee) sprinted during his rehab work Friday but has not tested his lateral movement. If he passes that next step, he could be available to play, if the Loons make the playoffs. … Heath said the club is “hoping to keep” 21-year-old midfielder Joseph Rosales beyond the loan that expires at the end of the 2022 season. The team would need to exercise a purchase option from Panamanian club Independiente de la Chorrea, and the cost is not believed to be expensive. … Heath said they will wait until after the season to determine the future of 23-year-old midfielder Jonathan Gonzalez. His loan is up at the end of 2022. MNUFC can go into another loan agreement with Mexican club Monterrey or purchase his contract. Another loan seems the more likely option.

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Mid-trip, Viking Cruises cancels voyage from New Orleans to St. Paul

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Mid-Trip, Viking Cruises Cancels Voyage From New Orleans To St. Paul
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After waiting two days for his luxury cruise to push north past Vicksburg, Miss., Pennsylvania State University journalism professor R. Thomas Berner learned that Viking Cruises was throwing in the proverbial towel on his two-week Mississippi River adventure to St. Paul.

“We have just been turned around and are headed for the closest port,” said Berner, 78, in an email Thursday from the 386-passenger Viking Mississippi. “The Coast Guard, we were told, has shut down the entire river. We will be bused to Memphis in the morning.”

For Viking Cruises, launching luxury excursions up and down the Mississippi River has been a slog marked by construction and regulatory delays, canceled trips and customers who have taken to Facebook to vent their disappointments.

The muddy Mississippi this week saddled Viking with yet another setback — low water levels that have grounded barges, backed up river traffic for days in both directions and caused Viking to rethink its remaining itineraries.

An effort to reach a Viking spokesperson for comment Friday was not successful.

RIVER CRUISES

Employees of St. Paul-area tour companies say they’ve been informed that all Viking cruises on the north end of the Mississippi River have been canceled for the rest of the season, and travel likely limited to the 400 miles of river between New Orleans and Memphis. That amounts to a third of the 1,200 miles between New Orleans and St. Paul.

Viking competitors have wasted no time in marketing themselves as the smart alternative.

In an email Friday, a spokesperson for American Cruise Lines said their five Mississippi River boats — which are half the size of the Viking Mississippi — are all operating according to schedule along the upper and lower sections of the river.

“Looking ahead into the weekend, it is possible that we may experience some itinerary changes but American has been cruising the Mississippi for over a decade and we are well-experienced in addressing occasional changes due to conditions along the river,” said Alexa Paolella, an American Cruise Lines public relations manager.

LACK OF RAINFALL

The lack of rainfall caused Viking last weekend to relocate a scheduled Oct. 1 departure from New Orleans and depart instead from Baton Rouge. Some satisfied customers took to social media to say the international cruise company had accommodated them with free hotel stays, city tours and a shuttle ride to the port.

Problems soon escalated when low river levels created a logjam of tows and barges, including at least eight groundings of barges carrying too much cargo for water conditions, according to the Associated Press. The Viking Mississippi traveled north from Baton Rouge about 150 miles to Vicksburg, Miss., where it halted Tuesday while waiting for the river to reopen.

On Thursday morning, Berner received written word from Viking that his trip to St. Paul was over, and he’d soon be disembarking and taking a bus to Memphis.

A Viking cruise scheduled Oct. 15 from St. Paul to New Orleans has been canceled.

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Youth basketball in St. Paul sees nearly 40 percent registration increase, city to waive fees for kids 9 to 18

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Youth Basketball In St. Paul Sees Nearly 40 Percent Registration Increase, City To Waive Fees For Kids 9 To 18
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Kids in St. Paul have shown they want to play basketball, and the city has created an easier path for them to take the court.

With federal funding from the America Rescue Plan Act, the city’s parks and recreation department has waived fees for kids ages 9 to 18 for basketball and other sports for the next three years.

The city has seen a 38 percent increase in registrations from 2021 to 2022. While the more than 1,250 signups represent a return to pre-pandemic levels, it shows the barrier registration feels ranging from $25 to $40 presented to some families.

“I’m super proud of this,” St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter Tweeted on Friday. “It’s one of the coolest things we’ve done. And not just basketball – we used #AmericanRescuePlan funds to ditch fees for all sports & @SaintPaulParks is currently serving 1000+ more youth than this time last year.”

Andy Rodriguez, the director of St. Paul parks and recreation, said that dollar amount might sound modest.

“But honestly, for a family that might be a tank of gas or some other (essential item) versus playing basketball for the season,” he said. “With those fees going away, families don’t have to make that decision anymore.”

St. Paul will spend $1.5 million of ARPA funds on its rec centers. That will include waiving fees for all sports offered, including baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer. The federal funs will also be directed toward expanded rec center hours of operation and mobile rec programs such as climbing walls, game trucks and other programming, Rodriguez said.

“It’s a really big investment into our people and our communities, and it contributes to public safety,” Rodriguez said. “If you are in organized programs or are participating in organized activity with something positive, that’s what we want.”

But what St. Paul will do with youth sports registration fees once the federal money runs out in three years is yet to be seen.

“Three years is good runway to problem solve,” Rodriguez said. “I think when we get to the end of that we will have some good data to show what we can do to keep this moving.”

The city’s youth basketball season runs from late October to January with games between teams at different rec centers and tournaments that branch out of the city limits.

The city has 26 rec centers and Rodriguez estimates 20 have youth teams. Battle Creek leads the way with 11 teams, while Hayden Heights, McDonough and Dayton’s Bluff were centers that didn’t regularly field teams, but now have squads.

“It’s a really encouraging participation trend to see new teams at rec centers that don’t traditionally have them,” Rodriguez said. “I think that is the silver lining out of all this.”

Rodriguez said he anticipates registrations to continue to tick upward as the season approaches at the end of the month.

Registration for basketball can be found online at: www.stpaul.gov/departments/parks-and-recreation/athletics/youth-athletics/youth-basketball.

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Ime Udoku’s Mistress Revealed As 34-year-old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch

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Ime Udoku’s Mistress Revealed As 34-Year-Old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch
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The puzzle of the most odious affair has finally been solved. And it keeps getting ickier! The misery woman Bolton Celtic’s head Coach Ime Udoku had the sh-tty affair with is identified as 34-year-old Kathleen Nimmo Lynch, a staunch Mormon. Kathleen works under Ime Udoku as the service manager responsible for the team’s traveling. She allegedly catered for Nia Long‘s recent trip before sleeping with her partner Ime Udoku.

45-year-old Ime Udoku put his career on the line for 2-minute banging with a married mother of three. Yes, Ime was engaged and with a child, and Kathleen was married with kids too.

However, Ime has lost it all due to the icky affair. He is currently suspended as the head coach of the Bolton Celtic. And also Nia Long, his ex-fiancé has left together with their 11-year-old son. An affair to die for indeed!

However, Kathleen’s crappy act is the ultimate disgrace to Danny Ainge, who got her the job at Bolton Celtic. These two’s mess keeps getting worse for their families.

Via Daily Mail:

The Boston Celtics employee whose affair with head coach Ime Udoka led to his suspension can finally be revealed. 

The female employee is team service manager Kathleen Nimmo Lynch, 34, a married mother-of-three, DailyMail.com can disclose. The Celtics have not identified the woman Udoka was involved with, but Lynch’s name had been leaked online.

She served as a team liaison arranging travel, lodging and game tickets for Celtics family members at home and on the road, and is likely to have arranged travel for Udoka’s fiancée, actress Nia Long.

A source familiar with the investigation told DailyMail.com that the affair was consensual, short lived, and had ended by the time investigators got involved.

Lynch has longstanding personal ties with the team’s legendary former player Danny Ainge, who was the team’s executive director of basketball operations before leaving the franchise last year. 

Ainge, 63, a fellow devout Mormon, helped her land her job. 

A source familiar with the investigation told DailyMail.com that Ainge learned early in the summer that the Celtics had initiated an investigation into Udoka’s relationship with Lynch, but he did not intervene in the investigation or decision to suspend the coach.

The source added, however, that Ainge was deeply disappointed by the affair, especially given the fact they have families.

This lousy act of these grown a**es is vile and has cost the people closest to them lots of embarrassment. Ime Udoka is paying for it dearly but Kathleen aside from the public humiliation is yet to face any punishment from Bolton Celtic.

Here are photos of married woman Kathleen Nimmo Lynch:

1665172000 421 Ime Udokus Mistress Revealed As 34 Year Old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch
1665172001 945 Ime Udokus Mistress Revealed As 34 Year Old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch
1665172002 843 Ime Udokus Mistress Revealed As 34 Year Old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch

The post Ime Udoku’s Mistress Revealed As 34-year-old Married Kathleen Nimmo Lynch appeared first on TheGossipScoop.com.

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Uvalde schools suspend entire police force

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Uvalde Schools Suspend Entire Police Force
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By Paul J. Weber | Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Uvalde’s school district on Friday pulled its embattled campus police force off the job following a wave of new outrage over the hiring of a former state trooper who was part of the hesitant law enforcement response during the May shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 21 dead.

School leaders also put two members of the district police department on administrative leave, one of whom chose to retire instead, according to a statement released by the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District. Remaining officers will be reassigned to other jobs in the district.

The extraordinary move by Uvalde school leaders to suspend campus police operations — one month into a new school year in the South Texas community — underscored the sustained pressure that families of some of the 19 children and two teachers killed in the May 24 attack have kept on the district.

Brett Cross, whose 10-year-old son Uziyah Garcia was among the victims, had been protesting outside the Uvalde school administration building for the past two weeks, demanding accountability over officers allowing a gunman with an AR-15-style rifle to remain in a fourth-grade classroom for more than 70 minutes.

Uvalde families have said students in the district are not safe so long as officers who waited so long to confront and kill the gunman remain on the job.

“We did it!” Cross tweeted.

The Uvalde school district had five campus police officers on the scene of the shooting, according to a damning report from Texas lawmakers that laid out multiple breakdowns in the response. A total of nearly 400 officers responded, including school district police, the city’s police, county sheriff’s deputies, state police and U.S. Border Patrol agents, among others.

The fallout Friday is the first in Uvalde’s school police force since the district fired former police Chief Pete Arredondo in August. He remains the only officer to have been fired from his job following one of the deadliest classroom attacks in U.S. history.

The district said it would ask the Texas Department of Public Safety, which had already assigned dozens of troopers to the district for the school year, for additional help. Spokespersons for the agency did not immediately return messages seeking comment Friday.

“We are confident that staff and student safety will not be compromised during this transition,” the district said in a statement.

The statement did not specify how long campus police operations would remain suspended.

The move comes a day after revelations that the district not only hired a former DPS trooper who was one of the officers who rushed to the scene of Robb Elementary, but that she was among at least seven troopers later placed under internal investigation for her actions.

Officer Crimson Elizondo was fired Thursday, one day after CNN first reported her hiring. She has not responded to voicemails and messages left by The Associated Press.

Steve McCraw, the head of the state’s Department of Public Safety, has called the law enforcement response to the shooting an “abject failure.” McCraw has also come under pressure as the leader of a department had more than 90 troopers on the scene but still has the support of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott.

On Thursday, after Elizondo was fired, Abbott called it a “poor decision” for the school to hire the former trooper and that it was up to the district to “own up to it.”

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Biden’s ‘Armageddon’ talk edges beyond bounds of US intel

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Biden’s ‘Armageddon’ Talk Edges Beyond Bounds Of Us Intel
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By AAMER MADHANI, ELLEN KNICKMEYER and JOSH BOAK

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s warning that the world is at risk of a nuclear “Armageddon” was designed to send an unvarnished message that no one should underestimate the extraordinary danger if Russia deploys tactical nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine, administration officials said Friday.

The president’s grim assessment, delivered during a Democratic fundraiser on Thursday night, rippled around the globe and appeared to edge beyond the boundaries of current U.S. intelligence assessments. U.S. security officials continue to say they have no evidence that Vladimir Putin has imminent plans for a nuclear strike.

Biden veered into talk about Ukraine at the end of his standard fundraising remarks, saying that Putin was “not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological or chemical weapons.”

“We have not faced the prospect of Armageddon since Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis,” he added. He suggested the threat from Putin is real “because his military is — you might say — significantly underperforming.”

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday did not directly respond to a question about whether Biden had gone into the event intending to invoke Armageddon, as the White House sought to clarify the president’s off-the-cuff comments.

She told reporters: “Russia’s talk of using nuclear weapons is irresponsible and there’s no way to use them without unintended consequences. It cannot happen.” She added that “if the Cuban missile crisis has taught us anything, it is the value of reducing nuclear risk and not brandishing it.”

Biden’s national security team for months has warned that Russia could use weapons of mass destruction in Ukraine as it has faced a series of strategic setbacks on the battlefield. But the president’s remarks were the starkest warnings yet by the U.S. government about the nuclear stakes.

One U.S. official said Biden was also trying to warn against underestimating the danger any level of tactical nuclear weapons.

There’s some concern in the administration that Russia has determined it can use its nuclear arsenal in a manner short of a “full-blown” nuclear attack on Ukraine and face only limited reaction from U.S. and Western allies who are determined to keep the Ukraine conflict from turning into a broader war, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss administration thinking

Putin has repeatedly alluded to using his country’s vast nuclear arsenal, including last month when he announced plans to conscript Russian men to serve in Ukraine.

“I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction … and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin said. “It’s not a bluff.”

In Europe, leaders sought to turn down the volume after Biden’s stark warning.

Asked about Biden’s remarks, French President Emmanuel Macron said it was crucial to speak with care on the nuclear threat.

“I have always refused to engage in political fiction, and especially … when speaking of nuclear weapons,” Macron said at a EU summit in Prague. “On this issue, we must be very careful.”

European Council President Charles Michel told reporters that leaders take “every escalation very seriously,”

“Threats will not intimidate us,” Michel said. “Instead, we are going to remain calm. We are going to keep cool heads and we will, each time, denounce the irresponsible character of these threats.”

Jean-Pierre reiterated on Friday the U.S. has “not seen any reason to adjust our own strategic nuclear posture nor do we have indications that Russia is preparing to imminently use nuclear weapons.”

It’s not the first time that Biden’s comments have appeared to push against the margins of U.S. policy.

Last month, Biden, in a CBS “60 Minutes” interview, said that “U.S. forces, U.S. men and women, would defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. ”

The White House said after the interview that U.S. policy toward Taiwan hasn’t changed. That policy says Washington wants to see Taiwan’s status resolved peacefully but doesn’t say whether U.S. forces might be sent in response to a Chinese attack.

In March, as he wrapped up a speech in Warsaw, Biden seemed to call for the ouster of Putin, saying, “For God’s sake, this man cannot remain in power.” Before Biden could even board Air Force One to begin the flight back to Washington, aides were scrambling to clarify that he wasn’t calling for an immediate change in government in Moscow.

Earlier that month, Biden called Putin a “war criminal” for the Russian onslaught in Ukraine before the White House walked back the comments. The White House had been avoiding applying the “war criminal” label to Putin, because it requires investigation and an international determination.

After Biden used the term, his then-press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the president was “speaking from his heart” and clarified that the administration acknowledged there is a process for making a formal determination.

As for Biden’s latest eyebrow-raising remarks, “People sort of say, ‘Oh, yeah, it’s Biden. You know, he says this stuff,’” said Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, and a veteran of nuclear policy research.

“But overseas countries are saying, ‘Whoa, this is what the U.S. president says,”’ Kristensen said. “And so that means we have to be really careful about using big words” that in themselves can escalate nuclear tensions unintentionally.

Biden’s strong choice of words could have an have an unintended impact with Russia, Kristensen said, the biggest problem with the president’s latest comments.

“It’s quite clear to me that Putin will be looking at this and say to himself ’Wow, you know, I got their attention now. So they’re really afraid.’”

___

Associated Press writers Sylvie Corbet in Prague, Lorne Cook in Brussels and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed reporting. Boak reported from Hagerstown, Maryland.

___

Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Ukraine at

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