Russia to stage massive nuclear drills

Russia to stage massive nuclear drills

The Russian military on Friday announced a massive exercise of its strategic nuclear forces, a stark reminder of the country’s nuclear prowess amid Western fears that Moscow is preparing to invade Ukraine.

The Defense Ministry said Russian President Vladimir Putin will personally oversee Saturday’s exercise, which will include several practice launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin would observe the exercise from the Defense Ministry’s Position Room and personally supervise the exercise missile.
The ministry said it had planned exercises some time ago to prepare Russia’s military command and personnel, as well as to check the reliability of its nuclear and conventional weapons.

The war games follow US President Joe Biden’s warning on Thursday that Russia could invade Ukraine within a few days.

Western fears focused on an estimated 150,000 Russian troops – including about 60 and 37 of Russia’s total ground forces – concentrated near Ukraine’s borders. The Kremlin insists it has no plans to attack. But Moscow has demanded that the US and its allies keep Ukraine and other former Soviet countries out of NATO, do not deploy weapons in Ukraine and withdraw NATO forces from Eastern Europe.

Washington and its allies categorically rejected the Russian demands, and Moscow threatened to take unspecified “military-technical measures” if the West continued to stonewall. Russia conducts large-scale exercises of its strategic nuclear forces on an annual basis, but the maneuvers planned for Saturday clearly involve the Black Sea Fleet. The fleet is based on the Crimean peninsula, which Russia seceded from Ukraine in 2014.

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