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Russian Forces To Practice Deployment of Tactical Nuclear Weapons

Russian military forces. CC/ Serge Serebro,Vitebsk Popular News

The Russian Defense Ministry announced this morning that the Russian General Staff, “On the instructions of the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation [President Vladimir Putin], in order to increase the readiness of non-strategic nuclear forces to carry out combat missions, the General Staff has begun preparations for holding exercises in the near future with missile formations of the Southern Military District with the involvement of aviation, as well as the forces of the Navy.

“During the exercise, a set of measures will be taken to practice the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons,” the ministry statement said. “The purpose of the exercises is to maintain the readiness of combat units’ personnel and equipment of non-strategic nuclear weapons to react and, in order to definitely ensure Russia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, in response to provocative statements and threats made by certain Western officials against the Russian Federation.”

The Defense Ministry statement doesn’t specify what those “provocative statements and threats” were, but according to Sputnik, the West has been escalating the bellicose theme of a Russian “strategic defeat” in Ukraine, while also concocting accusations of hybrid attacks by Moscow on the alliance as part of the overall anti-Russian hysteria. Sputnik cites a statement issued on May 4, by Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in which she noted that NATO’s large-scale Steadfast Defender drills are a clear indication that the Alliance is preparing for a “potential conflict” with Russia.

“Right now, NATO is conducting its largest drills since the Cold War, Steadfast Defender, near the Russian border,” she said. “According to the scenario, using all tools, including hybrid ones and conventional weapons, they are exercising coalition actions against Russia. We have to admit that NATO states are seriously preparing for a ‘potential conflict’ with us, about which, by the way, high-ranking NATO representatives are openly talking.”

Furthermore, the North Atlantic Council adopted a statement on May 2 accusing Russia of hybrid attacks against the Alliance’s member states. In response, Zakharova said the bloc and “the leadership of some individual member states are doing what they are best at—spreading disinformation, increasing the degree of anti-Russian hysteria in order to justify unprecedented levels of militarization in Europe.”