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Russia's Latest Nuclear Blackmail: Putin Announces Exercises for Non-Strategic Nuclear Forces

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Photo: Russia's Latest Nuclear Blackmail: Putin Announces Exercises for Non-Strategic Nuclear Forces

Russia and its satellite Belarus are set to conduct exercises "aimed at increasing the readiness of non-strategic nuclear forces to perform combat tasks" in the near future. During the exercises, "a complex of measures will be carried out to practically work out issues of training and using non-strategic nuclear weapons," reports Ukrinform.

The Russian Ministry of Defence states that the combat use of such weapons will be practised "to unconditionally ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state in response to provocative statements and threats from certain Western officials addressed to the Russian Federation." The individuals and statements in question are not disclosed.

At the same time, Russian officials declare that Russia will consider F-16 aircraft, expected to arrive in Ukraine, as potential carriers of Western nuclear weapons. Dmitry Medvedev, the notorious current Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation and former puppet president of the country, stated that the potential deployment of Western forces in Ukraine will provoke a symmetrical response from Russia, which is why the aggressor country has started exercises "including measures to practically work out issues of training and using non-strategic nuclear weapons."

Russia's nuclear blackmail has resurfaced following the approval by the US Congress and President of a large military aid package to Ukraine worth over $60 billion, as well as announcements from several Western countries regarding specific timelines for delivering F-16 fighters to Ukraine.

All these actions and statements are evidently aimed at increasing pressure on the West in the context of providing military aid to Ukraine, according to analysts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

ISW experts note that Belarus' sudden announcement of a nuclear readiness check on May 7 is likely part of a Kremlin campaign aimed at influencing decisions in the West.

"Alexander Lukashenko's statement came the day after the Russian Ministry of Defence announced preparations for non-strategic (tactical) nuclear exercises and is likely intended to support Kremlin efforts to compel the West to refrain from providing additional military aid to Ukraine," analysts believe.

In their assessment, neither Russia nor Belarus "seek nuclear escalation, and the likelihood of them using nuclear weapons remains low."

However, Russia is far from the first to use nuclear blackmail to deter Western assistance to Ukraine. In March, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is technically ready for nuclear war if necessary.

"From a military-technical perspective, we are, of course, prepared. Our nuclear forces are constantly in a state of combat readiness," Putin said in an interview with propagandist media.

The Gaze also reported at the end of January that Russian occupation forces had resumed mining around the perimeter of Europe's largest Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which they had occupied in Ukraine's occupied Zaporizhzhia region.



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