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Signal to NATO Powers ‘Playing War in Ukraine’: Why Russia is Drilling Its Tactical Nuclear Forces

By Ilya Tsukanov

The Russian military has announced that missile units in the Southern Military District will be holding exercises to increase “the readiness of non-strategic nuclear forces to carry out combat missions” in the wake of NATO’s latest provocations. Sputnik asked veteran Russian military analyst Alexei Leonkov what message the drills are meant to send.

The Kremlin said Monday that the Russian military’s planned exercises involving tactical nuclear weapons are directly tied to statements by French, British and American officials and lawmakers about their countries’ readiness to deploy military contingents in Ukraine.
These provocations “require special attention and special measures,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, when asked about the purpose of the upcoming drills.

Russia’s Defense Ministry said earlier in the day that the tactical nuclear missile drills will be aimed “at maintaining the readiness of personnel and equipment of units for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons to respond and in order to unconditionally ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Russia.”

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