Russia announces nuclear drills after Western officials talk of deepening involvement in Ukraine

Referring to certain ‘provocative’ statements made by NATO leaders in recent days, Russia announced it would be holding tactical nuclear weapon drills.

Russia said Monday it plans to hold drills simulating the use of battlefield nuclear weapons amid rising tensions following comments by senior Western officials about the possibility of deeper involvement in the war in Ukraine.

The announcement came on the eve of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration to a fifth term in office and in a week when Moscow on Thursday will celebrate Victory Day, its most important secular holiday, marking its defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.

The drills come in 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. They are less powerful than the massive warheads that arm intercontinental ballistic missiles and are intended to obliterate entire cities.

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