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May 6, 2024

Russia Conducts Military Drills Including Tactical Nuclear Weapons Practice Amidst Western Provocations

Amidst escalating tensions with the West, Russia has announced a military exercise that includes the practice of deploying tactical nuclear weapons. This decision comes following what the Russian defense ministry describes as provocative threats from Western officials.

Ordered by President Vladimir Putin, the exercise aims to test the readiness of Russia’s non-strategic nuclear forces for combat missions. The drills will involve preparation and deployment exercises for the use of non-strategic nuclear weapons, with missile formations in the Southern Military District and naval forces participating.

According to the defense ministry, these exercises are crucial for ensuring Russia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, especially in response to perceived provocations from certain Western officials. While the ministry did not specify the officials, recent remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron regarding a potential French intervention in Ukraine have drawn particular concern from Russia.

Russia has repeatedly accused the United States and its European allies of escalating tensions by supporting Ukraine with significant military aid in its conflict against Russian forces. The Kremlin contends that such actions are pushing the world toward a confrontation between nuclear powers.

Since the onset of the conflict, Russia has issued warnings about increasing nuclear risks. Although US officials acknowledge these warnings, they claim to have observed no change in Russia’s nuclear posture.

Russia’s nuclear doctrine dictates that these weapons would be used in response to an attack involving nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, or when the use of conventional weapons threatens the very existence of the state.

In March, Putin cautioned the West that direct conflict between Russia and the US-led NATO alliance would bring the world one step closer to a devastating global war. He emphasized that such a scenario was unwanted by virtually everyone.

Russia and the United States possess the vast majority of the world’s nuclear warheads, with China, France, and Britain following. Putin frames the conflict in Ukraine as part of a historical struggle with the West, citing perceived humiliations after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, including the enlargement of NATO into what Moscow considers its historical sphere of influence.

While Ukraine and its Western allies characterize the conflict as an imperial-style land grab by a corrupt regime, Western leaders have pledged to support Ukraine against Russian forces without deploying NATO personnel to the region.

As tensions persist, the international community watches closely, hoping for diplomatic resolutions to de-escalate the situation and prevent further military confrontations between Russia and the West.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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