Russia has announced plans to conduct military exercises involving tactical nuclear weapons

Russia Has Announced Plans To Conduct Military Exercises Involving Tactical Nuclear Weapons

A decision coming in the wake of recent declarations by European leaders indicating heightened military support for Ukraine. The announcement was made by the Russian Ministry of Defence and emphasized as a response to what Moscow views as provocative statements and actions from Western countries.The tactical nuclear drills are set to involve missile units from the Southern Military District, as well as aviation and naval forces, with the aim of increasing the readiness of Russia’s non-strategic nuclear forces to perform combat missions. The Ministry highlighted that these exercises would involve practicing the preparation and use of tactical nuclear weapons, which are typically smaller in yield compared to strategic nuclear weapons designed to destroy entire cities (Al Jazeera) (The Moscow Times). This move follows comments from French President Emmanuel Macron, who mentioned the potential deployment of Western troops to Ukraine if requested by Kyiv, and from UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron, who suggested that Ukraine could use British weapons against targets inside Russia. These statements have been perceived by Russia as significant escalations, leading to the decision to showcase its tactical nuclear capabilities as a deterrence measure (Al Jazeera) (CNA). Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov explicitly linked the timing of these drills to the recent Western announcements, suggesting that the exercises are a direct response to perceived threats and provocations. This development underscores the rising tensions between Russia and the West, which have deteriorated significantly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 (The Moscow Times) (CNA).The use of tactical nuclear weapons, which are designed for use on the battlefield rather than for strategic deterrence, adds a concerning dimension to the conflict. These weapons, while smaller than strategic nuclear bombs, still carry devastating potential, capable of causing significant radioactive fallout and destruction within a localized area. The move to practice with such weapons signals Russia’s intent to maintain a credible deterrent against NATO and Western involvement in Ukraine (Al Jazeera) (CNA). This development is part of a broader pattern of increased military posturing and rhetorical brinkmanship that has characterized the conflict, highlighting the continued risk of escalation. Both Russia and the United States, along with their respective allies, continue to hold the vast majority of the world’s nuclear arsenals, making the stakes of any confrontation exceptionally high (Al Jazeera) (CNA).

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