Moscow and NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) are expected to conduct nuclear drills soon, amidst the escalation of tensions following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s warning of using all means (including nuclear weapons) to defend its territory.
According to foreign media reports, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in a statement said that Russia conducted exercises involving an unspecified number of Yars mobile ground-based missile systems, with troops testing how to hide them from aerial reconnaissance systems and protect them from saboteurs on the ground.
Shoigu further added that over 3,000 troops and 300 vehicles took part in the drill.
Whereas, NATO plans to hold its drills in Western Europe next week.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg while talking about Russian potential for nuclear exercise stated, “We have monitored Russian nuclear forces for decades and of course, we will continue to monitor them very closely.”
However, the United States and its western allies are particularly concerned about whether it is just a drill or the real thing (nuclear attack).
A Western official commented that this was why a state should not engage in excessively heated rhetoric and conduct a nuclear exercise because it can be confusing.
The United States National Security Spokesman John Kirby stated that the US was aware of Russian intentions to conduct military drills. He also hoped that the exercise include actions within the normal bounds of what Russia has done in the past.
Due to the COVID pandemic, Russia did not hold the drills in 2021 but Grom strategic exercises were held in February of this year, just before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.
The drills come as Russia intensified its missile attacks on Ukrainian regions last week, including the capital Kyiv. Putin also moved to annex parts of Ukraine, which has caused concern to the international community.