Putin Orders Nuclear Drills in Response to Western Threats to Send Troops to Ukraine Front

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Russian President Vladimir Putin announced tactical nuclear weapons drills in response to “belligerent statements” made by Western leaders threatening to put troops on the ground in Ukraine.

“During the exercises, a set of measures will be carried out to practice the issues of preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons,” Russia’s defense ministry said Monday.

Non-strategic or “tactical” nuclear weapons can be used in battlefield scenarios, whereas strategic nuclear weapons have the potential to level entire cities when launched from great distances.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were in response to escalatory rhetoric made by French, British and American leaders on the war in Ukraine.

“They talked about the readiness and even the intention to send armed contingents to Ukraine, that is, in fact, to put NATO soldiers in front of the Russian military,” Peskov said. “This is a completely new round of escalation of tension. It is unprecedented. It requires special attention and special measures.”

French President Emmanuel Macron in February said France could not rule out sending troops to Ukraine, prompting pushback even from fellow EU countries like Germany.

He echoed the same remarks last week in an interview with The Economist.

“I have a clear strategic objective: Russia cannot win in Ukraine,” Macron said. “If Russia wins in Ukraine, there will be no security in Europe. Who can pretend that Russia will stop there? What security will there be for the other neighboring countries, Moldova, Romania, Poland, Lithuania and the others?” he asked.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron during a visit to Ukraine last week said that Ukraine may use British-supplied weapons to strike targets inside Russia.

“In terms of what the Ukrainians do, in our view it is their decision about how to use these weapons. They are defending their country. They were illegally invaded by Putin and they must take those steps,” Cameron said after the UK pledged continued financial and military support for Ukraine.

Former Russian President Dmitri Medvedev lambasted the current “cynical” Western leadership in an X post, arguing Russia is witnessing “some kind of total degradation of the Western ruling class.”

“None of them will be able to hide either on Capitol Hill, or in the Elysee Palace, or in 10 Downing Street. It will be a global catastrophe,” Medvedev warned, should NATO deploy ground troops to Ukraine.

“This is something that Kennedy and Khruschev managed to understand over 60 years ago; and something that the present-day infantile morons in power in the West don’t want to comprehend,” he added.

Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons drills also come days after NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg insisted that Ukraine is on an “irreversible path” toward becoming a member of the military alliance.

Russia has repeatedly warned that Ukraine joining NATO marks a red line that represents a declaration of direct war with the West and justifies an extraordinary military response.

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