Russia plans to hold drills faking use of nuke weapons

May 7: Russia plans to hold drills simulating the use of tactical nuclear weapons, the Defense Ministry announced Monday, 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. Tactical nuclear weapons have a lower yield compared to massive warheads that arm intercontinental ballistic missiles intended to obliterate entire 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.

French President Emmanuel Macron repeated last week that he doesn’t exclude sending troops to Ukraine, and U.K. 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. (AP)

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