Putin orders rehearsals of tactical nuclear weapons in response to Western threats

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian forces to rehearse deploying tactical nuclear weapons, as part of military drills to respond to Western threats.

Since invading Ukraine in 2022, Putin has repeatedly made threats to use tactical nuclear weapons against the West.

“During the exercises, a set of measures will be carried out to practice the issues of preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons,” Russia’s defense ministry said.

Russia’s defense ministry, said the drills were ordered after “provocative statements and threats” by Western officials against Russia, which Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said had reached “unprecedented levels.”

French President Emmanuel Macron last week reaffirmed that he would not rule out sending Western troops to Ukraine, as he warned of the risks Russia poses to European security.

“I’m not ruling anything out because we are facing someone who is not ruling anything out,” Macron told The Economist magazine.

“I have a clear strategic objective: Russia cannot win in Ukraine. If Russia wins in Ukraine, there will be no security in Europe. Who can pretend that Russia will stop there?”

David Cameron, British Foreign Secretary said that Ukraine could use British-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia.

“In terms of what the Ukrainians do, in our view, it is their decision about how to use these weapons. They are defending their country.

They were illegally invaded by Putin and they must take those steps,”

Cameron told reporters after the United Kingdom pledged continued financial and military support for Ukraine.

The drills announcement also comes shortly after the United States last month passed a long-delayed aid package for Kyiv, which will allow desperately needed military equipment and ammunition to flow to Ukraine as it tries to shore up its frontlines in the face of renewed Russian onslaughts.

Russia has raised the nuclear specter when its invasion of Ukraine has hit obstacles or when other countries make new pledges of support for Ukraine.

Ukraine liberated large swathes of its territory in late 2022, Putin conceded that the war is “going to take a while” and warned of the “increasing” threat of nuclear war.

In February last year, Putin announced that Russia would suspend participation in the New START treaty, a key nuclear arms reduction agreement with the United States, the last remaining pact that regulates the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals.

Putin said Russia would not be the first to test nuclear weapons but would do so in the event of a US test.

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