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Russia to hold nuclear weapon drills in response to 'provocative statements' by Western officials: Kremlin  

Russia's tactical nuclear weapon drills are a response to statements from the West about sending troops to Ukraine, the Kremlin said on Monday.

Edited By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 Moscow Updated on: May 06, 2024 15:25 IST
Russia to hold nuclear weapon drills in response to 'provocative statements' by Western officials: K
Image Source : AP Representational Image

In a major development, the Russian Defence Ministry said it planned to hold drills simulating the use of tactical nuclear weapons. The announcement came days after the Kremlin reacted angrily to comments by senior Western officials about the war in Ukraine. The drills are in response to “provocative statements and threats of certain Western officials regarding the Russian Federation,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

It was the first time that Russia has publicly announced drills involving tactical nuclear weapons, though its strategic nuclear forces regularly hold exercises. 

What is tactical nuclear weapons?

Tactical nuclear weapons have a lower yield compared to massive warheads that arm intercontinental ballistic missiles intended to obliterate entire cities. They have a relatively short range and a much lower yield than nuclear warheads fitted to long-range strategic missiles that are capable of obliterating whole cities.

The announcement appeared to be a warning to Ukraine’s Western allies about becoming more deeply involved in the more than two-year war. Some of Ukraine’s Western partners have previously expressed concern about stoking the war amid fears it could spill beyond Ukraine and into a conflict between NATO and Russia.

Kremlin calls Macron's statement "dangerous"

French President Emmanuel Macron repeated last week that he doesn’t exclude sending troops to Ukraine, and UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron said Kyiv’s forces will be able to use British long-range weapons to strike targets inside Russia. The Kremlin branded those comments as dangerous, heightening tension between Russia and NATO. The war already has placed significant strain on relations between Moscow and the West.

It wasn’t the first time Europe’s military support for Ukraine has irked Russian authorities and prompted nuclear sabre-rattling. In March last year, after the UK government’s decision to provide Ukraine with armour-piercing shells containing depleted uranium, Putin announced that he intended to deploy tactical nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus.

Tactical nuclear weapons include air bombs, warheads for short-range missiles and artillery munitions and are meant for use on the battlefield.

(With inputs from agency)

Also Read: US accuses Russia of using 'chemical weapons' in Ukraine, violating international ban

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