Russia begins maneuvers with tactical nuclear weapons – DW – 05/21/2024

The Russian Defense Ministry announced this Tuesday (05/21/2024) the start of exercises with tactical nuclear weapons near Ukraine, maintaining that this is a response to the “threats” of the Western powers.

“The first phase (…) of exercises on the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons began,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced earlier in the month that he planned to carry out the exercises in response to statements by leaders and threats from Western powers about the possibility of sending troops to Ukraine.

Simulation of attack management with Russian Iskander-M missiles.Image: Yevgeny Yepanchintsev/dpa/Picture Alliance

These maneuvers, taking place in the Southern Military District bordering Ukraine, are aimed at verifying the “availability” of “non-strategic nuclear weapons (…)” to guarantee the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state. The Defense Ministry indicated in a statement.

According to the ministry, during this stage, Russian troops are practicing loading “special ammunition” into Iskander missile batteries, as well as transferring it to “hidden” firing zones.

According to the same source, the Air Force and Kinjal hypersonic missiles also participate in the exercises. Putin has put the possibility of resorting to nuclear weapons on the table several times since the conflict in Ukraine began in February 2022.


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