After an angry exchange with Western officials, Russia announces nuclear weapon drills


Russia on Monday threatened to strike British military facilities and said it would hold drills simulating the use of battlefield nuclear weapons amid sharply rising tensions over comments by senior Western officials about possibly deeper involvement in the war in Ukraine.
The drills are a response to “provocative statements and threats of certain Western officials regarding the Russian Federation,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.
It was the first time Russia has publicly announced drills involving tactical nuclear weapons, although its strategic nuclear forces regularly hold exercises.
Tactical nuclear weapons include air bombs, warheads for short-range missiles and artillery munitions and are meant for use on a battlefield.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed concern that various parties have been talking about issues regarding nuclear weapons more and more recently.
Some of Ukraine’s Western partners have previously expressed concern that the conflict could spill beyond Ukraine into a war between NATO and Russia.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that Macron’s recent statement and other remarks by British and U.S. officials had prompted the nuclear drills.
The ministry said the exercise is intended to “increase the readiness of non-strategic nuclear forces to fulfill combat tasks” and will be held on Putin’s orders.


As tensions skyrocketed over remarks made by high-ranking Western officials regarding potential deeper involvement in the conflict in Ukraine, Russia on Monday threatened to attack British military installations and announced that it would conduct exercises resembling the use of nuclear weapons on combat zones.

Moscow warned that any Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory with U.S. assistance would be met with a warning after calling the British ambassador to the Foreign Ministry. G. weapons from abroad might result in reprisals against British military installations and gear, whether they are in Ukraine or elsewhere.

Those words were spoken on the eve of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration for a fifth term in office. Victory Day, Moscow’s most significant secular holiday commemorating the city’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, is celebrated this Thursday.

According to a statement from the Defense Ministry, the exercises are in response to “provocative statements and threats of certain Western officials regarding the Russian Federation.”.

Although Russia’s strategic nuclear forces frequently conduct drills, this was the first time the country had made public announcements about tactical nuclear weapons drills. Air bombs, artillery munitions, and short-range missile warheads are examples of tactical nuclear weapons that are intended for use in combat situations. They are not as potent as the massive warheads that are attached to intercontinental ballistic missiles and designed to destroy entire cities, known as strategic weapons.

U. N. Spokesman Stephane Dujarric voiced alarm over the increasing number of parties discussing nuclear weapons-related topics in the past few months.

According to Dujarric, “current nuclear risks are at an alarmingly high level.”. “Every action that could result in an error in judgment or an escalation with dire repercussions needs to be avoided. “.

With two years of the war under way and the Kremlin’s forces having the upper hand due to Ukraine’s lack of manpower and weapons, Russia’s announcement served as a warning to Ukraine’s Western allies not to get too involved in the conflict. Prior to the conflict escalating into a war between NATO and Russia, a few of Ukraine’s Western allies had voiced their concerns.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed that he does not rule out sending troops to Ukraine, and the U.S. G. Britain’s long-range weapons will be available for Kyiv’s forces to use against targets inside Russia, according to Foreign Secretary David Cameron. Several other NATO nations that are supplying Kyiv with weapons have objected to that idea.

The remarks were deemed dangerous by the Kremlin, which increased hostilities between Russia and NATO. Relations between Moscow and the West are already severely strained as a result of the conflict.

According to Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the Kremlin, Macron’s recent declaration and other comments made by British and U. s. The nuclear drills had been ordered by officials.

Referring to what the Kremlin considered to be provocative remarks, Peskov said, “It’s a new round of escalation.”. Because of its unprecedented nature, it calls for extra care and precautions. “.

The ambassadors of France and Britain were both called by the Russian Foreign Ministry. The British ambassador was urged “to consider the inevitable catastrophic consequences of such hostile steps from London,” according to the statement. “.

“Contributing to increasing instability,” according to Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billström, are the nuclear drills. “.

Billström told the Swedish news agency TT that “Russia’s actions may be considered particularly irresponsible and reckless in the current security situation.”.

Putin’s deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, Dmitry Medvedev, warned in his characteristically belligerent tone that Macron and Cameron’s remarks ran the risk of driving the nuclear-armed world closer to a “global catastrophe.”. “.

Nucleus saber-rattling has happened before as a result of Europe’s military backing for Ukraine. In March 2023, subsequent to the U. KK. Putin stated that he plans to place tactical nuclear weapons on Belarus, Ukraine’s neighbor, in response to the country’s decision to supply armor-piercing shells containing depleted uranium.

According to the ministry, Putin has ordered the drill, which aims to “increase the readiness of non-strategic nuclear forces to fulfill combat tasks.”. According to the statement, the air force, navy, and missile units of the Southern Military District will all be participating in the exercises.

Little was said in response to the Russian announcement in Ukraine, where Andrii Yusov, the agency’s spokesman, stated on national television that nuclear blackmail is a regular tactic used by Putin’s regime and does not represent significant news. “.

Russian provocations have been held accountable by Western officials for threatening a wider war. Asserting that Moscow is behind a campaign of hybrid activities on NATO territory, the countries that make up NATO expressed their deep concern last week, claiming that the activities pose a security risk.

Referring to those allegations as “new, unfounded accusations leveled at our country,” Peskov rejected them. “.

In response to an alleged computer hack of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s party, Germany announced on Monday that it had summoned its ambassador to Russia for a week of talks in Berlin.

Meanwhile, two vehicles in the Belgorod region of Russia were struck by Ukrainian drones on Monday, injuring 35 people—including two children—and killing six, according to local authorities. In recent months, forces from Kyiv have been in the area.

Among the cars was a minibus that transported agricultural laborers, Belgorod Gov. stated Vyacheslav Gladkov.

The report could not be independently verified.

Despite being largely confined to the 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) front line after over two years of fighting, Ukraine’s army has managed to hit targets deep within Russia with its long-range firepower.

Russia has also mainly relied on long-range missiles, artillery, and drones to inflict damage on Ukraine in what has been an attrition-based war.

The energy infrastructure in Sumy, the northern region of Ukraine, was the target of a Russian drone attack during the night as the forces of the Kremlin continued their bombardment of the country’s power grid. Authorities in the area reported that power was lost in several of the towns and villages in the area, including Sumy.

Overnight, the Ukrainian air force reported that Russia had attacked targets in Ukraine with 13 Shahed drones, 12 of which had been intercepted in the Sumy area.


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