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Russia explains renewed focus on nuclear weapons

Deputy FM Sergey Ryabkov has cited the West’s “escalatory course” as one of the reasons for the upcoming drills

Russia’s recent decision to hold tactical nuclear weapons drills is owed in part to the increasingly escalatory stance of certain Western nations, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov has said. He pointed out, however, that Moscow’s nuclear doctrine, which allows for the use of such weapons only when the existence of the nation is at stake, has not changed.

On Monday, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced that the nuclear exercises, which were ordered by President Vladimir Putin and involve the missile forces, air force, and navy, would take place “in the near future.” According to military officials, the drills are meant to demonstrate Moscow’s readiness to “ensure unconditional territorial integrity and sovereignty” of the nation.

When asked by reporters on Thursday whether Russia may revise its deterrence strategy, Ryabkov stressed that “at present, there have been no changes in this respect, but the situation itself is changing.” He added that analysis is ongoing about whether the document in its current form is adequate to ensure Russia’s security.

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A Belarusian Sukhoi Su-25 jet during a military exercise ©  Belarusian Ministry of Defense Telegram channel
Russian ally announces snap nuclear drill

“We warn our adversaries that their escalatory course naturally forces us to take steps that effectively mean the strengthening of deterrence measures,” Ryabkov stated.

Speaking during a press briefing on Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov clarified that the tactical nuclear weapons drills were announced in response to a new and “unprecedented” escalation of tension on the part of some top Western officials.

“They talked about the readiness and even the intention to send armed contingents to Ukraine, that is, to actually put NATO soldiers in front of the Russian military,” the official clarified.

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron suggested that Western nations “would legitimately have to ask” themselves whether they should deploy their militaries to Ukraine “if the Russians were to break through the front lines, [and] if there were a Ukrainian request.”

The US and its allies have on several occasions accused Moscow of nuclear saber-rattling. President Putin said in March that at no point during the Ukraine conflict has Russia considered the use of such weapons.

May 09, 2024 at 07:18PM
RT

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