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Russia begins second phase of tactical nuclear weapons exercises with Belarus

Russia announced on Tuesday (11) that its troops began the second phase of tactical nuclear weapons readiness exercises alongside Belarusian troops, after what Moscow classified as threats from Western powers.

The country claims the United States and its European allies are pushing the world to the brink of a nuclear confrontation by giving Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, some of which are being used to attack Russian territory.

President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said Russia can use nuclear weapons to defend itself in extreme situations, talk the West has dismissed as bravado.

Last month, Russia explicitly linked nuclear exercises ordered by Putin to what it said were “provocative statements and threats by certain Western officials against the Russian Federation.”

In the first phase, Russian troops trained how to arm and launch Iskander missiles, while the Air Force trained how to arm Kinzhal hypersonic missiles.

The second stage, announced this Tuesday, involves the joint training of Russian and Belarusian units “for the combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons”, the Defense Ministry said.

“The situation on the European continent is quite tense, provoked every day by new decisions and actions by European capitals hostile to Russia and, above all, by Washington,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, when asked about the exercises.

“So clearly these exercises and maintaining combat readiness are very important to us,” he explained.

In footage released by the Russian Defense Ministry, an Iskander missile system was shown being driven across a field, and the missiles were raised.

It was also possible to see MiG-31 supersonic interceptors carrying Kinzhal missiles and Tupolev Tu-22M3 supersonic long-range bombers.

Still, Putin stressed on Friday that Russia does not need to use nuclear weapons to ensure victory in Ukraine, the Kremlin’s strongest signal yet that Europe’s deadliest conflict since World War II will not will turn into a nuclear war.

Putin also commented that he did not rule out changes to Russian nuclear doctrine, which establishes the conditions under which these weapons could be used.

Source: CNN Brasil

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