Russian Nuclear Drill; Nothing to Worry About! By Richard Miller (London)

Russia has conducted tactical nuclear weapons drills near the Ukraine border, in response to claims that there will be increased NATO involvement in the Ukraine, if not troops. The live drills involved getting hyper-sonic missiles into place ready for a launch. Putin has continuously threatened to use nuclear weapons if NATO dispatched troops to the Ukraine, which is now likely. The West does not know how many tactical nukes, the smaller ones, by contrast to the large strategic ones, Russia has. NATO is determined to play nuclear chicken, until the inevitable happens. And for what, the most corrupt country in Europe? Oh, that's why.

"Russian forces have started military drills near Ukraine simulating the use of tactical nuclear weapons in response to what Moscow deems threats from western officials about increased involvement in the conflict.

Vladimir Putin ordered the drills earlier this month in a move Russian officials said was a warning to the west not to escalate tensions further.

The Kremlin has particularly been angered by the French president, Emmanuel Macron, who floated the possibility of sending European troops to fight Russia in Ukraine, and by remarks from the UK foreign secretary, David Cameron, who said Ukraine had the right to use weapons supplied by London to target sites in Russia.

The Russian defence ministry published footage on Tuesday showing trucks carrying missiles to a field where launch systems had been prepared and troops at an airfield readying a bomber to carry a nuclear warhead.

The drills are taking place in Russia's southern military district, headquartered in Rostov-on-Don, which borders Ukraine and includes parts of the country which Russia occupies.

The ministry said it was the first stage of the drills, which involved practising the loading of launch vehicles, driving to launch sites and loading planes with hypersonic Kinzhal missiles.

Russia has numerous weapons systems capable of delivering tactical nuclear warheads, meaning those designed for battlefield use, as opposed to strategic warheads that could wipe out whole cities.

Unlike strategic weapons, which have been subject to arms control agreements between Russia and the US, tactical weapons have never been limited by any such pacts, and Russia has not released their number or any other details about them.

Putin frequently evoked Moscow's nuclear arsenal in the early days of its invasion of Ukraine, repeatedly pledging to use all means necessary to defend Russia. He later seemed to moderate his rhetoric, reportedly after Chinese officials persuaded him to abandon his nuclear threats, but he recently warned NATO countries they risked provoking a nuclear war if they deployed troops to Ukraine.

In a recent speech to mark the Soviet Union's victory in the second world war, he said the country's nuclear weapons were "always at combat readiness".

Also on Tuesday, a Russian general fired last year after complaining about problems his troops faced in Ukraine was arrested on bribery charges.

Maj Gen Ivan Popov, who commanded the 58th Combined Arms force, which is fighting on the frontline near Zaporizhzhia, said last summer that he had been fired after he brought up problems on the battlefield, including the lack of counter-battery fire, and deaths and injuries the army was suffering from Ukrainian attacks.

Without naming them, Popov appeared at the time to attack the head of the army, Valery Gerasimov, and the then defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, two of the country's most powerful military men, accusing them of stabbing the country in the back.

Popov's arrest came amid the largest reshuffle in the defence ministry and the army since the war in Ukraine began over two years ago, raising expectations of possible further purges.

Putin removed his longtime ally Shoigu from his role as defence minister earlier this month. Two other senior defence officials have also been arrested on corruption charges."



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Wednesday, 24 July 2024

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