NewsDirty bomb: Russia tests its nuclear response

Dirty bomb: Russia tests its nuclear response

Russia on Wednesday rehearsed its response to a nuclear attack in an exercise involving nuclear submarines, strategic bombers and ballistic missiles, at a time of heightened tension over the “dirty bomb” accusation it has launched against Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin watched from a distance the annual exercise, called “Grom” or “Thunder,” which uses test launches to test Moscow’s nuclear forces in a show of force designed to deter and intimidate enemies.

“Under the leadership of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Vladimir Putin, the land, sea and air strategic deterrent forces conducted training, during which practical launches of cruise and ballistic missiles were carried out,” the Kremlin said in a statement. a statement.

Russian officials said test launches of nuclear-capable cruise and ballistic missiles had been successful.

A ballistic missile was launched over the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East, and another from the waters of the Barents Sea in the Arctic. The exercise involved Tu-95 long-range bomber aircraft.

“The tasks set during the strategic deterrent training exercise were fully accomplished, with all missiles hitting their target,” the Kremlin added.

Russian “strategic” forces, broadly defined, are designed to respond to threats including nuclear war. They are equipped with intercontinental missiles, long-range strategic bombers, submarines, surface ships and naval aviation.

The RIA news agency quoted Putin as saying that the potential for conflict in the world and in the region remains high.

The Pentagon said a day earlier that Russia had notified it of its intention to carry out the exercises at a time when NATO is testing its own use of US nuclear bombs based in Europe in its annual “Steadfast Noon” war games.

Flexing nuclear muscle is tricky because Russia is on the defensive in Ukraine and has accused the country of planning to detonate a “dirty bomb” with radioactive material.

kyiv and the West say there is no proof of the allegation and that the warning appears designed to heighten tensions over the war in Ukraine or to serve as a justification for some sort of Russian escalation on the battlefield.

Western officials have expressed fear that Moscow may be tempted to use a low-yield “tactical” nuclear weapon in Ukraine to try to force kyiv to capitulate at a time when Ukrainian forces are advancing into the province of Kherson, occupied by Russia, which threatens a great defeat for Moscow.

US President Joe Biden warned Moscow on Tuesday that such a move would be an “incredibly serious mistake”.

Putin, who will chair a Security Council meeting later on Wednesday, has warned that Russia has the right to defend its own territory using any weapon in its arsenal, but has not spoken specifically of tactical nuclear weapons.

Russia informs China and India

Russian officials said Moscow’s protective nuclear umbrella had been expanded to cover four Ukrainian regions that Putin says he has annexed, a move not recognized by kyiv or the West, while stressing a desire to avoid a nuclear conflict.

A day after Russia presented its “dirty bomb” accusations at the UN Security Council, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu briefed his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe via video, relaying Moscow’s concern in around what he called “possible provocations” from kyiv in connection with a “dirty bomb”, his portfolio said.

Shoigu, a close ally of Putin, held a similar video conference with his Indian counterpart. Rajnath Singh, India’s defense minister, told Shoigu that neither side should use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine war, according to an Indian government statement.

“The possibility of using nuclear or radiological weapons goes against the basic principles of humanity,” Singh told Shoigu. Singh called for an early resolution of the conflict through dialogue and diplomacy, a prospect that, for now, seems remote after eight months of war and amid a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive that has forced Russian troops to withdraw.

With information from AFP and Reuters

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