Russia Nuclear War Exercise: President Vladimir Putin has raised tensions with the West over the conflict in Ukraine by observing multiple nuclear exercises involving the launch of ballistic and cruise missiles.
Wednesday’s drills emerged as a series of comments by Moscow and Putin – Putin observed the drills from a control room – suggesting a nuclear strike could trigger the eight-month conflict in Ukraine.
“Under the leadership of Vladimir Putin on land, sea and air, a Russia Nuclear War Exercise training session on strategic deterrence forces was held, with practical launches of ballistic and cruise missiles,” the Kremlin statement said.
Regarding the nuclear exercise, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin that the purpose of the exercise was to retaliate for a nuclear attack on the country and simulate a “massive nuclear attack” by Russia.
The Russia Nuclear Strike Policy followed Putin’s warning about his readiness to use “all available means” to deter attacks on Russian territory, in clear reference to the country’s nuclear arsenal.
Russian state-run media revealed a submarine preparing to launch a Sineva ballistic missile from the Arctic’s Barents Sea.
The Yars land-based intercontinental ballistic missile is test-fired during a Russian exercise on Wednesday, from the North Plesetsk launch site.
The exercise also included a test missile launch on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s Far East.
As part of the Russia Nuclear War Exercise, Tu-95 strategic bombers and cruise missiles have also been launched.
The Kremlin said in a statement that all the tasks specified for the exercise had been completed and the test-fired missiles had reached their destination.
NATO will conduct its own annual nuclear drills in northwest Europe, which will run until October 30, raising concerns about the Russian exercises.
The NATO exercise, “Steadfast Noon,” will involve about 60 aircraft, including US B-52 long-range bombers and nuclear-capable fighter jets.
Land, sea and air Russian maneuvers of the nuclear triad take place on an annual basis to demonstrate their readiness along with training the country’s nuclear forces. Such drills were held before Putin sent troops into Ukraine.
US President Joe Biden’s administration issued a statement on Tuesday saying Russia had informed it of regular exercises of its nuclear capabilities. The Pentagon and the US State Department said Russia had complied with the terms of the latest US-Russia arms control agreement by notifying Washington of the upcoming tests.
Shoigu comments on Moscow’s ‘irresponsible behaviour’ as Ukraine develops a “dirty bomb” after footage of the drills has been made public across state media.
A dirty bomb is a conventional bomb that contains radioactive, biological or chemical material that has a high probability of being dispersed when detonated.
Putin himself repeated the dirty bomb claim on Wednesday. “We are concerned about his plan to use so-called dirty bombs to provoke,” he said.