Vladimir Putin orders nuclear exercises in the ‘near future’ in response to Western ‘threats’

These exercises will involve the air force, navy and forces from Russia’s Southern Military District, based very close to Ukraine.



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Russian President Vladimir Putin celebrates Orthodox Easter at the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow, May 5, 2024. (VALERY SHARIFULIN / AFP)

The date and location of the exercises have not been specified. Vladimir Putin ordered nuclear exercises to be held “in the near future”, notably involving troops based near Ukraine, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, Monday May 6. Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, the Russian president has blown hot and cold about a possible use of nuclear weapons.

This time, the exercises aim to “maintain preparation” of the army to protect the country, “in response to provocative statements and threats made against Russia by certain Western officials”, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement. The spokesperson for the Russian presidency, Dmitry Peskov, affirmed that these were more precisely the remarks of “Mr Macron”of “British representatives” and a “representative of the United States Senate, if I’m not mistaken”. These leaders have “spoke about the desire and even the intention to send armed contingents to Ukraine, that is to say, to place NATO soldiers against the Russian army”he denounced.

“A series of measures will be taken to train in the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons”, specified the Russian Defense Ministry. These weapons, also called tactical nuclear weapons, are designed for use on or behind the battlefield, and can be launched by missiles. These exercises will involve the air force, the navy and forces of the Southern Military District, which is based very close to Ukraine and notably covers Ukrainian regions which Moscow claims to annex.

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