The Russian Army Has Simulated Nuclear Strikes In Military Drills Near Ukraine

Russia has started conducting military drills that mimic the use of tactical nuclear weapons close to the Ukrainian border, a development that is widely perceived as a terrifying escalation. President Putin ordered the drills, which take place at a time when Western and Russian tensions over the Ukraine war are still quite high.

Experts surmise that these drills are a planned reaction to moves Moscow interprets as a greater commitment to war by NATO allies. The announcement of the drills came after remarks made by Western leaders that the Kremlin deemed inflammatory. Among these were the declarations made by UK Foreign Secretary Cameron that Ukraine may use weaponry provided by the UK on Russian territory and the proposal made by French President Macron to send European troops to Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry released footage on Tuesday showcasing the movement of missile systems and the preparation of a bomber carrying a nuclear warhead. The drills are taking place within Russia’s Southern Military District, which borders Ukraine and includes areas currently occupied by Russian forces. According to the Ministry, this initial phase involves practicing the loading of missiles onto launch vehicles, troop movements to launch sites, and the preparation of aircraft carrying hypersonic Kinzhal missiles. Belarus, where Russia deployed tactical nukes in 2023, is also expected to participate.

While these exercises focus on tactical nuclear weapons, designed for battlefield use unlike the city-destroying strategic warheads, the message is clear. Unlike strategic weapons subject to arms control agreements between Russia and the US, tactical nukes are not bound by such limitations. Details surrounding the number and capabilities of these weapons remain shrouded in secrecy.

The drills involve a multifaceted display of military might, with participation from the Southern Military District’s missile troops, aircraft, and naval forces. The Ministry emphasizes that the exercises are designed to “maintain preparedness” and ensure “territorial integrity” in response to “provocative statements and threats” from the West.

This escalation by Russia adds a dangerous new layer of tension to the already volatile situation in Ukraine. The international community will be watching closely as these drills unfold, with the hope that cooler heads will prevail and prevent further escalation into a wider conflict.

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