Defense Secretary Ash Carter greets airmen at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., Monday, Sept. 26, 2016, after giving a speech on nuclear weapons. Carter says the Pentagon is committed to correcting what he calls decades of shortchanging its nuclear forces. Carter spoke Monday at a nuclear missile and bomber base in Minot. He says $108 billion is earmarked for sustaining and improving the forces over the next five years. (AP Photo/Robert Burns) (The Associated Press)
Image 2 of 3
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryov residence outside Moscow, Russia on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) (The Associated Press)
Image 3 of 3
FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2016 file photo, Defense Secretary Ash Carter, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. The U.S. is sending 615 more troops to Iraq as the stage is set for an Iraqi-led battle to reclaim Mosul, the northern city that has been the Islamic State group's main stronghold for more than two years. The offensive, starting as soon as October, looms as a decisive moment for Iraq and for President Barack Obama's much-criticized strategy to defeat IS. "These forces will be primarily to enable Iraqi security forces and also (Kurdish) Peshmerga in the operations to isolate and collapse ISIL's control over Mosul, but also to protect and expand Iraqi security forces' gains elsewhere in Iraq," Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File) (The Associated Press)
MOSCOW – The Russian Foreign Ministry is accusing the Pentagon of making a veiled threat to back its allies in an attack on Russia with nuclear weapons.
U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter on Monday accused Russia of "nuclear saber-rattling" and argued that even though the Cold War is long over, nuclear weapons are still needed to deter Russia and other potential aggressors from thinking they could get away with a nuclear attack.
Moscow responded Thursday by saying that Carter's statement amounted to the U.S. threatening to use its nuclear weapons in support of an aggression against Russia waged by its allies. It added that Russia will have to take retaliatory measures to protect its security.