June 15, 2024

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Nuclear drills near Ukraine: West’s “response to threats”

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RussiaNuclear training is a “response to threats” from the West.

In early May, Kremlin leader Putin horrified the West by announcing the training of his tactical nuclear forces. Now the maneuver has officially started.

  • Russia has begun nuclear drills near Ukraine.

  • According to the Defense Ministry, the exercise was “in response to provocative statements and threats by some Western representatives”.

  • “Production” of “non-strategic nuclear weapons” will be tested.

Russia has begun training its non-strategic nuclear forces, announced in early May. The first phase of maneuvers aimed at increasing the readiness of nuclear forces has begun in the Southern Military District, the Defense Ministry announced in Moscow on Tuesday. Iskandar and Kinjal missile complexes are also involved. These tactical weapons can be equipped with nuclear warheads.

More ominous gestures from Putin

These are nuclear weapons that can be used selectively against enemy forces and other military targets. As a rule, they have significantly less explosive power than strategic nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles, which they are specifically designed to deter. The maneuver is seen as an extra ominous gesture by Putin, given that Ukraine, which has been defending itself against a Russian war of aggression for more than two years, is being supplied with Western weapons.

According to the ministry, the rockets are being tested by being secretly moved to a specific location. According to the ministry, “it is aimed at maintaining the readiness of personnel and equipment of non-strategic nuclear weapons units to respond to provocative statements and threats of some Western officials against the Russian Federation and to unconditionally protect territorial integrity and sovereignty. The Russian government must ensure”.

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Statements by Macron and Cameron

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered military exercises in early May after a series of Western statements angered Moscow. Russian representatives pointed to French President Emmanuel Macron’s statements that NATO countries should not rule out sending troops to Ukraine. They also noted British Foreign Secretary David Cameron’s comments that Kiev has the right to fire Western missiles into Russian territory.

The US has criticized the announced exercise as irresponsible. “For the leader of a major nuclear power to rock his ship the way he does about the use of nuclear weapons is simply irresponsible and irresponsible,” said John Kirby, director of communications for the National Security Council. Despite this “irresponsible rhetoric”, the US government has not seen anything to change its strategic deterrence posture.

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(DPA/AFP/bre)