Austria Says Threat Of Nuclear Attack From Putin ‘As Bad As The Cold War’

A foreign affairs official from Austria stated recently that the nuclear risk from Russian President Vladimir Putin is “as bad as during the Cold War.”

The comment came from Alexander Kmentt, director for disarmament, arms control and nonproliferation with the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“The nuclear risk, is it as bad as during the Cold War? The answer is yes,” said Kmentt.

“In the Cold War we had essentially two nuclear interests trying to deter one another,” Kmentt continued. “We have several potential nuclear flashpoints now. … The latest iteration of those risks, issued by Russia, are just completely beyond the pale.”

While Austria seems confident that Putin is capable of escalating matters to the nuclear level at any moment, U.S. officials have yet to confirm that Russia is an imminent nuclear threat.

When asked on Tuesday whether Russia is moving tactical nuclear weapons to the border of Ukraine, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper said that she had “nothing to corroborate.”

Austria has a unique standing in Europe. They are a member of the European Union and they agreed to the economic sanctions placed on Russia since the invasion of Ukraine. However, Austria’s constitution states that the nation must remain neutral, so they have not contributed military support to Ukraine.

Historically, Austria and Russia have shared a fruitful economic and strategic relationship. The Soviet Union aided Austria in obtaining their independence following World War II, and for many years, Russia has used Austria as a conduit for their natural gas exports to Europe.

In fact, Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer was the first European leader to meet with Putin in the wake of his invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, though the country has vowed non-military support for Ukraine.

“We are for Ukraine,” stated an Austrian diplomat.

Emil Brix, Austria’s ambassador to Russia between 2015 and 2017, has met with Putin on numerous occasions.

“He only understands strength,” Brix stated, adding that he is “not open to many opinions” and remains focused on matters that are “mainly strategically important to him.”