Putin Directs Tactical Nuclear Weapon Drills as Deterrence Against Western Powers

Russia announced on Monday that it would practice using smaller nuclear weapons as part of a military drill, following what Moscow claims were threats from France, Britain, and the United States.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, it has repeatedly warned about the dangers of nuclear weapons. The United States takes these warnings seriously, but officials say they haven’t noticed any changes in Russia’s nuclear plans.

Russia accuses the United States and its European allies of pushing the world closer to a conflict between nuclear countries by giving Ukraine lots of weapons, some of which are being used against Russia.

The Russian defense ministry stated that they would conduct military exercises, including practicing the preparation and use of smaller nuclear weapons. President Vladimir Putin ordered these exercises.

“The exercises will involve practicing the steps needed to use smaller nuclear weapons,” the ministry said.

The Southern Military District’s missile forces, aviation, and navy will participate, according to the defense ministry.

The United States takes Russia’s warnings seriously but hasn’t noticed changes in its nuclear plans.

The purpose of the exercise is to protect Russia’s borders and sovereignty “in response to threatening statements and actions from certain Western officials,” the ministry explained.

Russia and the United States have the most nuclear weapons in the world, with over 10,600 out of the world’s 12,100 nuclear warheads. China has the third-largest nuclear arsenal, followed by France and Britain.

According to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia has about 1,558 smaller nuclear warheads, although the exact number is uncertain due to a lack of transparency.

Since the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, no country has used nuclear weapons in war.

Big nuclear powers regularly check their nuclear weapons, but they rarely publicly connect such drills to specific threats as Russia has done.

Nuclear Posturing: Tensions Rise Amidst Threats and Countermeasures

U.S. President Joe Biden said last year he didn’t think Russia would use nuclear weapons, but CNN reported that top U.S. officials made plans just in case Russia did consider a nuclear attack on Ukraine in 2022.

Some Western and Ukrainian officials believe Russia is just trying to scare them with talk of nuclear weapons, but the Kremlin has said it might break the rule against using nuclear weapons if Russia’s survival was threatened.

The Kremlin accuses the US and European allies of pushing toward nuclear conflict by arming Ukraine against Russia.

Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for Ukrainian military intelligence, said, “Putin’s regime often tries to use nuclear threats to get what it wants.”

The Russian defense ministry, led by Putin’s ally Sergei Shoigu, didn’t say which Western officials it was talking about in its statement.

The Kremlin said its decision was a response to comments by French President Emmanuel Macron, British officials, and someone from the U.S. Senate.

Macron has talked about sending European soldiers to fight Russia in Ukraine, while British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said Ukraine could use the weapons Britain gave them to attack targets in Russia.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Western talk of sending NATO troops to Ukraine was a big escalation in tensions and needed special attention.

Putin warned in March that if Russia and NATO went to war, it would be very close to a global conflict, but he said hardly anyone wanted that to happen.

Escalating Nuclear Tensions: Russia’s Exercises and Western Responses

NATO, formed in 1949 to protect against the Soviet Union, is doing its biggest exercise since the Cold War ended, called “Steadfast Defender.” NATO hasn’t said if this exercise includes practicing nuclear scenarios.

NATO conducts the largest exercise since the Cold War; Russia claims drills are in response to Western threats.

A NATO nuclear drill in 1983 made the Kremlin worried that the U.S. might suddenly attack with nuclear weapons.

Some hardliners in Russia want Putin to change the country’s nuclear rules, but Putin said last year he didn’t see a need for that.

Generally, Russia’s rules say they’ll use nuclear weapons if they’re attacked with nuclear weapons or other mass destruction weapons, or if conventional weapons threaten the country’s existence.

Putin sees the conflict in Ukraine as part of a long struggle with the West that began when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. He thinks the West has disrespected Russia by expanding NATO and meddling in what Russia sees as its affairs.

Ukraine and its Western supporters say Russia’s war in Ukraine is just about taking land and power, not about protecting Russian interests. Western leaders promise to help Ukraine beat back Russian forces but won’t send NATO troops to fight there.

Sajda Parveen
Sajda Parveen
Sajda Praveen is a market expert. She has over 6 years of experience in the field and she shares her expertise with readers. You can reach out to her at [email protected]
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