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Moscow orders nuclear exercises, threatens British targets

Photo: Valery Sharifulin/Sputnik via Agence France-Presse Since February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin has blown hot and cold about the possible use of nuclear weapons.

France Media Agency in Moscow

Posted at 8:36 a.m. Updated at 2:03 p.m.

  • Europe

Russia announced on Monday that nuclear exercises would soon be held near Ukraine and said its forces could strike British military targets in Ukraine “and beyond”, saying it was reacting to bellicose statements by Western leaders.< /p>

In Washington, Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder called it “an example of the type of irresponsible rhetoric we have seen from the from Russia in the past. This is completely inappropriate given the current security situation.”

The United States has so far observed “no change in the positioning” of forces Russian strategic plans but will continue to “monitor”, he added.

These threats from Moscow come on the eve of the inauguration ceremony at Vladimir's Kremlin Putin, who will officially begin a fifth term in office on Tuesday, and three days before May 9 celebrations of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany, a central part of the Kremlin's patriotic narrative.

Since the large-scale attack on Ukraine in February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin has blown hot and cold about the possible use of nuclear weapons.

This time, the exercises announced Monday by the Russian Ministry of Defense should allow the Russian army to “train in the preparation and use of non-nuclear weapons strategic”, designed for use on the battlefield.

The ministry assured that this was in response to “threats” made by Western leaders against Russia.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov clarified that it was “the intention to send armed contingents to Ukraine, that is, to place soldiers of NATO against the Russian army.”

He pointed the finger at the French president, whose “very dangerous rhetoric” he criticized, as well as British and American representatives.

Emmanuel Macron recently raised the possibility of sending Western ground troops to Ukraine if Moscow breaks through “the front lines” and if kyiv does so. asked.

He had already expressed this idea in February, sparking disapproval among Kiev's main allies, although some have since taken a step in his direction, particularly in the face of the Russian push on the eastern front.

British targets in Ukraine and 'beyond'

Russian military exercises ordered by Vladimir Putin will involve air force, navy and forces of the Southern Military District, which is based near Ukraine and covers Ukrainian regions that Moscow claims to annex, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The date and location were not specified, as were the number of soldiers and equipment mobilized.

Russian nuclear doctrine provides for recourse “strictly defensive” with atomic weapons, in the event of an attack on Russia with weapons of mass destruction or in the event of aggression with conventional weapons “threatening the very existence of the State”.

Meanwhile, Moscow threatened on Monday to strike British targets in Ukraine “and beyond” if kyiv used weapons supplied by London to strike Russian territory.

In a press release, Russian diplomacy indicated that British Ambassador Nigel Casey had been summoned on Monday after statements by British Foreign Minister David Cameron, which, according to Moscow, concerned “the right of Ukraine to strike the territory of Russia using British weapons.”

“N. Casey has been warned that any British military installations or equipment in Ukraine and beyond of its borders could be targeted in response to Ukrainian strikes with British weapons on Russian territory”, the Russian ministry indicated in this press release.

According to Russian diplomacy, David Cameron's remarks “directly contradict the assurances given by the British side during the transfer of long-range missiles to Ukraine”, according to which they would not be used against “Russian territory”.< /p>

French Ambassador Pierre Lévy was also summoned by Russian diplomacy on Monday, without an official reason having been communicated at this stage.

Seven dead near Belgorod

On the ground, a Ukrainian explosive drone strike in the small village of Beriozovka, in Russia's Belgorod region, left at least six dead and 35 injured on Monday, according to local governor Vyacheslav Gladkov.

Two small trucks “which were transporting employees to their workplace and a car were attacked by the Ukrainian army using kamikaze drones,” the official detailed on Telegram.

Later on Monday, he also announced the death of a seventh person in a separate air attack on the village of Nikolskoye.

The region Belgorod, bordering Ukraine, is regularly targeted by Ukrainian strikes, with kyiv saying it is doing so in response to daily bombardments by Russian forces on Ukrainian cities for more than two years.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116