The nuclear rhetoric is getting louder as Ukraine continues to make serious battlefield advances. The country's forces have regained control of thousands of square miles of territory since the beginning of September, especially in the areas recently "annexed" by Russia. The developments are pushing Vladimir Putin into a difficult corner, where he must decide how to paint the war as a victory and means for negotiation, or double down on a strategy of increasingly dark destruction.
Quote: "For the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, we have a direct threat to the use of nuclear weapons, if in fact things continue down the path they'd been going," President Biden declared. "I don't think there's any such thing as the ability to easily (use) a tactical nuclear weapon and not end up with Armageddon." When ordering a partial mobilization on Sept. 21, Putin pledged to defend Russia's territorial integrity with "all the means [of destruction] at our disposal," adding that the threat was "not a bluff."
"I'm trying to figure out: what is Putin's off-ramp? Where does he find a way out?" Biden continued. "Where does he find himself in a position that he does not only lose face, but lose significant power within Russia?"
Nuke risk: As the threats and warnings increase, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shelled out $290M on Amgen's (NASDAQ:NASDAQ:AMGN) drug called Nplate, which is used to treat acute radiation sickness in the event of a nuclear emergency. The HHS said it wasn't in "response to the situation in Ukraine," but was rather part of "ongoing work for radiological security," and adds to its stockpile of Leukine which has been in place since 2013. Closer to the front, Ukraine's capital of Kyiv is stocking evacuation centers with potassium iodine pills, which can help prevent radiation absorption.