U.S. says Putin’s nuclear threats risk ‘Armageddon’; Ukraine recaptures over 190 square miles in a week

U.S. President Joe Biden said the current risk of Russia deploying a tactical nuclear weapon is greater than it has been at any time since the Cuban missile crisis, an assessment that overnight raised fears of a nuclear war to new heights.

Putin has repeatedly warned the West that any attack on Russia could provoke a nuclear response.

It comes as Ukrainian forces reclaim dozens of settlements in the south of Ukraine, adding to a growing list of military setbacks for the Kremlin.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said the country’s forces have recaptured 500 square kilometers (193 square miles) in the Kherson region alone since the start of October.

Britain’s Defense Ministry says more than half of Ukraine’s fielded tank fleet could consist of captured Russian vehicles.

The International Monetary Fund announced it has approved $1.3 billion in emergency financing support to Ukraine, the largest IMF funding commitment to the country since early March.

The financing falls under the agency’s newly created “Food Shock Window” program, which permits countries facing acute food security issues to access an additional channel of rapid financing.

“The scale and intensity of Russia’s war against Ukraine that started more than seven months ago have caused tremendous human suffering and economic pain,” the IMF said in a statement.

The money approved Friday will help Ukraine deal with the fallout from Russia’s invasion, including its disastrous impact on Ukraine’s agricultural export market.

Prior to the Russian invasion and subsequent naval blockade, Ukraine was one of the world’s top exporters of wheat, barley and corn.