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Russia announces nuclear weapon drills after angry exchange with Western officials



Russia announces nuclear weapon drills after angry exchange with Western officials

Russia on Monday threatened to strike British army services and mentioned it might maintain drills simulating the usage of battlefield nuclear weapons amid sharply rising tensions over feedback by senior Western officers about presumably deeper involvement within the struggle in Ukraine.

After summoning the British ambassador to the International Ministry, Moscow warned that Ukrainian strikes on Russian territory with U.Okay.-supplied weapons might deliver retaliatory strikes on British army services and gear on Ukrainian soil or elsewhere.

The remarks got here on the eve of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration to a fifth time period in workplace and in every week when Moscow on Thursday will rejoice Victory Day, its most vital secular vacation, marking its defeat of Nazi Germany in World Battle II.

The drills are a response to “provocative statements and threats of sure Western officers relating to the Russian Federation,” the Protection Ministry mentioned in an announcement.

It was the primary time Russia has publicly introduced drills involving tactical nuclear weapons, though its strategic nuclear forces recurrently maintain workout routines. Tactical nuclear weapons embody air bombs, warheads for short-range missiles and artillery munitions and are meant to be used on a battlefield. They’re much less highly effective than the strategic weapons — huge warheads that arm intercontinental ballistic missiles and are supposed to obliterate total cities.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric expressed concern that numerous events have been speaking about points relating to nuclear weapons increasingly not too long ago.

“Present nuclear dangers are at an alarmingly excessive stage,” Dujarric mentioned. “All actions that might result in miscalculation, escalation with catastrophic penalties, should be averted.”

The Russian announcement was a warning to Ukraine’s Western allies about changing into extra deeply engaged within the 2-year-old struggle, the place the Kremlin’s forces have gained an higher hand amid Ukraine’s scarcity of manpower and weapons. A few of Ukraine’s Western companions have beforehand expressed concern that the battle might spill past Ukraine right into a struggle between NATO and Russia.

French President Emmanuel Macron repeated final week that he doesn’t exclude sending troops to Ukraine, and U.Okay. International Secretary David Cameron mentioned Kyiv’s forces will be capable of use British long-range weapons to strike targets inside Russia. Another NATO international locations offering weapons to Kyiv have balked at that chance.

The Kremlin branded these feedback as harmful, heightening pressure between Russia and NATO. The struggle already has positioned important pressure on relations between Moscow and the West.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned Monday that Macron’s latest assertion and different remarks by British and U.S. officers had prompted the nuclear drills.

“It’s a brand new spherical of escalation,” Peskov mentioned, referring to what the Kremlin thought to be provocative statements. “It’s unprecedented and requires particular consideration and particular measures.”

Russia’s International Ministry summoned each the French and British ambassadors. It urged the British ambassador “to consider the inevitable catastrophic penalties of such hostile steps from London.”

Sweden’s International Minister Tobias Billström mentioned the nuclear workout routines “contribute to growing instability.”

“Within the present safety state of affairs, Russia’s actions could also be thought-about significantly irresponsible and reckless,” Billström informed Swedish information company TT.

Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy head of Russia’s Safety Council that is chaired by Putin, mentioned in his usually hawkish style that the feedback by Macron and Cameron risked pushing the nuclear-armed world towards a “world disaster.”

It wasn’t the primary time Europe’s army assist for Ukraine has prompted nuclear saber-rattling. In March 2023, after the U.Okay.’s choice to supply Ukraine with armor-piercing shells containing depleted uranium, Putin mentioned he intends to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Ukraine neighbor Belarus.

The ministry mentioned the train is meant to “improve the readiness of non-strategic nuclear forces to meet fight duties” and will likely be held on Putin’s orders. The maneuvers will contain missile items of the Southern Army District together with the air pressure and the navy, it mentioned.

The Russian announcement stirred little response in Ukraine, the place the spokesman for the Army Intelligence company, Andrii Yusov, mentioned on nationwide tv: “Nuclear blackmail is a regular follow of Putin’s regime; it doesn’t represent main information.”

Western officers have blamed Russia for threatening a wider struggle by way of provocative acts. NATO international locations mentioned final week they’re deeply involved by a marketing campaign of hybrid actions on the army alliance’s soil, accusing Moscow of being behind them and saying they symbolize a safety menace.

Peskov dismissed these claims as “new, unfounded accusations leveled at our nation.”

Germany mentioned Monday it recalled its ambassador to Russia for every week of consultations in Berlin following an alleged laptop hack of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s occasion.

In the meantime, Ukrainian drones hit two automobiles Monday in Russia’s Belgorod area, killing six individuals and injuring 35 others, together with two kids, native authorities mentioned. The realm has been hit by Kyiv’s forces in latest months.

One of many automobiles was a minibus carrying farm employees, Belgorod Gov. Vyacheslav Gladkov mentioned.

It was not doable to independently verify the report.

Whereas Ukraine’s military is essentially pinned down on the 1,000-kilometer (600-mile) entrance line as a result of a scarcity of troops and ammunition after greater than two years of combating, it has used its long-range firepower to hit targets deep inside Russia.

In what has largely been a struggle of attrition, Russia additionally has relied closely on long-range missile, artillery and drones to wreak injury on Ukraine.

The Kremlin’s forces saved up their bombardment of Ukraine’s energy grid, with a nighttime Russian drone assault focusing on power infrastructure in Ukraine’s northern area of Sumy. A number of cities and villages within the area, together with Sumy, misplaced energy, regional authorities mentioned.

Russia attacked Ukrainian targets with 13 Shahed drones in a single day, 12 of which have been intercepted within the Sumy area, Ukraine’s air pressure mentioned.


Comply with AP’s protection of the struggle in Ukraine at

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