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Russia Starts Nuclear Drills Near Ukrainian Border

An Iskander tactical missile system in Russia. Russian Ministry of Defense
An Iskander tactical missile system in Russia. Russian Ministry of Defense

Russia’s defense ministry announced on Tuesday that they have begun a tactical nuclear drill in the country’s Southern Military District, an area that shares a border with Ukraine.

Military officials described the operation as an effort to ensure “the readiness of personnel and equipment of non-strategic nuclear weapons combat units to respond and to unconditionally ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state.”

Tactical, or non-strategic, nuclear weapons are designed for battlefield use and typically have a shorter range and less powerful warhead than their silo-based counterparts. They are usually intended to be deployed by aircraft, artillery, or ground vehicles.

Belarus, a nation that hosts some Russian nuclear assets, will reportedly be involved in the maneuvers.

Many observers have stated that Moscow’s intention with the exercise is to deter further Western involvement in the ongoing war in Ukraine, amid recent statements by NATO leaders that the defense alliance may take a more proactive role in providing support to the government in Kiev.

Related Story: Putin Warns Russia Ready to Deploy Nuclear Weapons if Threatened

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