Democrats in Congress called on President Joe Biden Wednesday to support a \u0022No First Use\u0022 policy regarding nuclear weapons, warning that Russian President Vladimir Putin\u0026#039;s recent provocations could cause \u0022untold\u0026nbsp;additional suffering\u0022 following his invasion of Ukraine unless world leaders agree that existing nuclear weapons must only be used as deterrents.\r\n\r\nThe co-chairs of the Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group—Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.)—released a statement three days after Putin ordered his military to put Russia\u0026#039;s nuclear forces on \u0022special alert,\u0022 signaling that he could quickly order a deployment of the weapons.\r\n\r\nThe lawmakers condemned Putin\u0026#039;s actions and applauded Biden for affirming that the U.S. is not changing its own alert status but said a worldwide No First Use policy is \u0022imperative\u0022 to avoid nuclear warfare.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022The crisis in Ukraine is evidence that there are no plausible military options for direct confrontation between the United States and a nuclear armed adversary—and the folly of investing $1 trillion in unusable new U.S. nuclear capabilities,\u0022 said the lawmakers.\r\n\r\nChina is the only nuclear-armed nation in the world that has affirmed an unconditional No First Use policy, while the U.S., France, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, and the United Kingdom have policies that allow them to potentially launch a nuclear attack without an adversary launching one first.\r\n\r\nSince Russia invaded Ukraine last week, anti-war groups have called on the Biden administration to ensure tensions do not escalate into a nuclear war, renewing a demand made by hundreds of scientists in December and by peace advocates last summer.\r\n\r\n\u0022Our leaders could take one key action to lessen the chance of a nuclear war: Declare that the United States will never use nuclear weapons first in a conflict,\u0022 said the Friends Committee on National Legislation last week.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe lawmakers\u0026#039; statement comes ahead of the expected release of the Biden administration\u0026#039;s Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). In January, Democrats in Congress—led by the\u0026nbsp;Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control Working Group chairs—said Biden must reject former President Donald Trump\u0026#039;s NPR, which called for the development of smaller nuclear warheads that the military believes are viewed as more \u0022usable.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn their statement Wednesday, the lawmakers urged Putin to recall a rare joint statement released in January by five of the world\u0026#039;s nuclear powers, including Russia and the U.S., affirming that \u0022a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Our leaders could take one key action to lessen the chance of a nuclear war: Declare that the United States will never use nuclear weapons first in a conflict.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022As nuclear use would have far-reaching consequences, we also affirm that nuclear weapons—for as long as they continue to exist—should serve defensive purposes, deter aggression, and prevent war,\u0022 the leaders of the five countries said, stopping short of committing to a No First Use policy.\r\n\r\nWithout that commitment, the Democrats said Wednesday, the U.S. must \u0022coordinate closely\u0022 with European nuclear powers and with Russia regarding nuclear policies amid the war in Ukraine.\r\n\r\nThe Pentagon, they said, should \u0022continue its efforts to open military communication channels with\u0026nbsp;Russia, as they have done in other theatres where the Russians are present,\u0026nbsp;so that \u0026#039;red-lines\u0026#039; are not inadvertently crossed.\u0022\r\n\r\n“President Putin has already made his country a global pariah by launching an unjustified and unprovoked war against Ukraine,\u0022 said the lawmakers. \u0022His threat to escalate his meritless invasion of Ukraine into nuclear war would cross a line from which our world cannot return.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The United States and its allies must do everything in their power to disincentivize this dangerous and costly mistake,\u0022 they added.