Graham warns Russian nuclear attack on Ukraine would be an attack on NATO

Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), a prominent Senate Republican defense hawk, warned Monday that a Russian nuclear attack against Ukraine would be viewed as an attack on NATO, even though Ukraine is not a member of the alliance.

Graham delivered his warning after former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Russia would “have to” use nuclear weapons if Ukrainian forces threaten Russian territory.

“To my Russian friends who talk about using nuclear weapons in Ukraine: You need to understand that would be an attack on NATO itself, given Ukraine’s proximity to NATO territory,” Graham tweeted.

“Time to sober up, realize that your barbaric invasion of Ukraine is not working, withdraw and save many young Russians from pointless death,” Graham said.

Graham retweeted an article reporting on Medvedev’s threat.

“Imagine if the offensive, which is backed by NATO, was a success and they tore off part of our land, then we would be forced to use a nuclear weapon, according to the rules of a decree from the president of Russia,” Medvedev said in the article, making a reference to Russia’s nuclear doctrine that would authorize a nuclear response if Russia’s territory is threatened by a conventional attack.

Medvedev serves as deputy chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, which Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs.

Graham and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) introduced a resolution in June stating that any use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia, Belarus or their proxies that spreads radioactive contaminants into NATO territory would be viewed as an attack on NATO.

“This resolution is meant to send a message to Vladimir Putin and to his military: They will be destroyed if they use tactical nuclear weapons or if they destroy a nuclear plant in a way that threatens surrounding NATO nations,” Blumenthal said at the time.

Their resolution urges the Biden administration to consult with NATO allies and European partners to develop a comprehensive response to minimize the threat to civilians posed by a nuclear attack in Ukraine or near European borders.

Putin said Russia has moved some of its short-range nuclear weapons into Belarus, putting them in closer striking distance to Ukraine.

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