WATCH: State Department spokesman Ned Price calls Putin’s nuclear deterrent alert ‘unnecessary’ and ‘dangerous’

The State Department strongly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order to put Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces on high alert, saying, “it adds to the risk of miscalculation.”

Watch Prices’ remarks in the player above.

“We share the opinion with our partners and allies around the world that this sort of provocative rhetoric, more than being unnecessary, it is it is dangerous,” said State Department Spokesman Ned Price.

For many, the nuclear high alert stirred up memories of the Cold War, and fears that the West could be drawn into direct conflict with Russia.

“We are assessing President Putin’s directive at this time. As I think you have heard us say, we see no reason to change our own alert levels,” Price said.

On Monday, the first talks aimed at stopping the fighting between Ukraine and Russia ended  with no agreement except to keep talking, while an increasingly isolated Moscow ran into unexpectedly fierce resistance on the ground and economic havoc at home.

Price said the U.S. supports Ukraine’s effort at diplomacy, while also remaining skeptical about Russia’s intentions.

“Diplomacy at the barrel of a gun, diplomacy at the turret of a tank, that is not real diplomacy,” Price said.

Russian troops, while attacking on multiple fronts, continued to advance slowly on the capital city of nearly 3 million people.

“This morning, the secretary (Antony Blinken) announced that our embassy in Moscow has authorized the voluntary departure of employees and family members,” Price said

“To be clear, this is not a retaliatory measure. We deem these measures necessary necessary because of the safety and security issues resulting from Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine,” he said.

The State Department has also closed the U.S. Embassy in Belarus.