Putin Orders Tactical Nuclear Weapon Drills Citing Provocative Statements

Putin Orders Tactical Nuclear Weapon

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered tactical nuclear weapons drills in response to what the defense ministry has described as provocative statements and threats from the West.

Moscow will carry out the drills "in the near future" to increase the readiness of non-strategic nuclear forces to perform combat missions, the defense ministry said in a statement on Monday, noting that they will be held with missile formations from the Russian Southern Military District and Russian Navy forces.

The announcement comes amid rising tensions between Russia and the West over Putin's ongoing war in neighboring Ukraine. On May 3, the Kremlin issued an ominous response to remarks made by U.K. Foreign

"During the exercise, a set of measures will be carried out to practice the issues of preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons," the defense ministry said.

The exercises are aimed at "maintaining the readiness of personnel and equipment of units for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons" and ensuring the nation's territorial integrity and sovereignty "in response to provocative statements and threats by individual Western officials against the Russian Federation," the ministry added.

"These are direct escalations of tension around the Ukrainian conflict, which potentially may pose a danger to European security, to the entire security architecture of Europe," Peskov said. "This is part of a dangerous trend of escalating tension through official statements, and is the cause for our concern."

Russia's former president and prime minister, and current deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia, warned in January that Moscow could respond with a nuclear strike if Ukraine attacked missile launch sites on Russian soil using long-range missiles provided by the West.

The paragraph states that Russia could use nuclear weapons to respond to an attack using nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, or to the use of conventional weapons against Russia "when the very existence of the state is put under threat," Reuters reported.

"This is not a right to self-defense, but a direct and obvious basis for our use of nuclear weapons against such a state," added Medvedev.

Putin has said since September 2022 that Russia would be prepared to use nuclear weapons to defend its "territorial integrity," adding that "this is not a bluff." During his annual state-of-the-nation address in Moscow on February 29, the Russian leader said that his "strategic nuclear forces are in a state of full readiness."