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Russia to hold tactical nuclear weapons drills amid 'threats by certain Western officials'

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk May 6, 2024 1:05 PM 1 min read
A Russian nuclear missile rolls along Red Square during a military parade on June 24, 2020, in Moscow, Russia. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)
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Russia will hold drills to practice the usage of tactical nuclear weapons to counter what it referred to as "provocative statements and threats from certain Western officials," Russia's Defense Ministry said on May 6.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly made nuclear threats against Ukraine and the West since the beginning of the full-scale invasion in February 2022. The threats have failed to materialize, and Russia continues to wage its all-out war without its nuclear arsenal.

The drills will include the "preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons," commonly referred to as tactical nuclear weapons.

The defense ministry said the exercise's purpose is to "maintain the readiness of personnel and equipment" and "unconditionally ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state."

The ministry did not specify which Western officials it said were making threats or provocative statements.

The Financial Times reported in February, citing leaked documents, that Russia's doctrine for the usage of tactical nuclear weapons ranged "from an enemy incursion on Russian territory to more specific triggers, such as the destruction of 20% of Russia's strategic ballistic missile submarines."

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