Russian nuclear submarines, mobile missile launchers stage drills after Putin order

Russia’s nuclear submarines and mobile missile launchers staged drills on Tuesday, two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin’s order placing deterrence forces on high alert. 

Warships that protect the northwest portion of Russia’s Kola Peninsula were joining the exercises, The Associated Press reported, citing a statement from Russia’s military.

Units of the Russian military’s Strategic Missile Forces dispersed intercontinental ballistic missile launchers in forests in eastern Siberia to practice secret deployment, the outlet reported.

It was unclear whether the drills were directly linked to the Sunday order.

Russia has faced international condemnation for its invasion of Ukraine, and the U.S. and other nations have over the past week imposed crippling sanctions on the Russian economy.

In a televised address Sunday, Putin said his decision to put the deterrence forces on heightened alert was in response to aggressive actions from the west, including the sanctions and statements from Western nations.

His announcement was largely seen as escalatory by the U.S. and other Western nations, although President Biden said Monday he doesn’t believe Americans should be concerned about the possibility of nuclear war.

Moscow and Washington together possess about 90 percent of the world’s nuclear warheads, according to the Federation of American Scientists. Russia is thought to be growing its nuclear stockpile, while the U.S. stockpile is decreasing.

On Monday, the Russian Defense Ministry said those overseeing the nuclear arsenal began to carry out combat duty, though U.S. officials said they had not seen evidence of related movements of troops and resources.  

Tags Joe Biden nuclear drills Russia-Ukraine conflict Vladimir Putin

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