Russia Holds Large-scale Nuclear Weapons Exercise: Exercise or Real?

Russia is expected to soon hold large-scale drills of its nuclear forces, making it difficult for the West to tell whether Moscow is just conducting drills or an actual nuclear strike, according to a report.

Russia holds nuclear exercises every October. However, this year’s exercises come just weeks after President Vladimir Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons “if our country’s territorial integrity is threatened”. His testimony in connection with the upcoming drills has worried some Western officials as Russia continues to record losses in Ukraine.

“So you don’t want to have extraordinarily overheated rhetoric while you’re conducting a nuclear exercise at the same time,” a Western official told Reuters. “Because then we have an extra challenge to be really sure that the actions that we see, the things that happen, are actually an exercise and nothing else.”

White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby promised the United States would monitor Russia’s so-called “Grom” exercises, adding that it expects Moscow to include live rocket launches during the exercise.

“While Russia likely believes this exercise will help it project its power, particularly in light of recent events, we know that this time of year Russian nuclear forces are again training extensively, routinely, and of course we will continue to monitor accordingly,” said Kirby told reporters on Thursday.

Earlier this week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said they will also be closely monitoring Russia’s upcoming nuclear exercises. He added that NATO will “take further steps” to protect allies from deliberate attacks and said the alliance is not intimidated by Putin’s nuclear threats.

Should Moscow decide to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned that Russia could “annihilate” its armed forces with the “powerful” response of the Western military.

Russia’s upcoming nuclear exercises come as Ukraine continues to win in its counteroffensive in the south. On Wednesday, Kiev’s forces captured and liberated five more settlements in Kherson Oblast, namely Novovasylivka, Novogrygorivka, Nova Kamyanka, Tryfonivka and Chervone.

In some areas of the occupied Donetsk region, Russian army leaders have also ordered their troops to cease fighting due to low morale and desertion, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (UAF).

away ThursdayUkraine’s Defense Ministry estimates that 63,800 Russian military personnel have been killed in action since the war began in February.

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