Russia Readies Nuclear Drills Near Ukraine Border

( – The fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops continues to escalate 26 months after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an air, sea, and land invasion of the former Soviet republic. A recent news report indicates that Russia is preparing to conduct a nuclear drill near the country’s border with Ukraine.

On May 6, Tass reported that the Russian Defense Ministry issued a press release announcing the General Staff’s decision to conduct military exercises near the Ukrainian border. The state-run news outlet explained that Russia’s equivalent of the Pentagon decided to launch the training missions in response to recent “threats” and “inflammatory statements” made by Western officials against Russia.

The notice confirmed that Russian armed forces had “launched preparations” for a series of drills “readying and employing non-strategic nuclear weapons” at an unspecified date “in the immediate future.” The Russian Air Force and Navy will participate in those drills.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the training mission “aims to maintain the preparedness of troops and equipment” for the deployment of nuclear weapons systems to “ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian State.”

Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov held a press conference later that day to provide additional information about the upcoming nuclear exercise. He accused French President Emmanuel Macron and officials from the United States and the United Kingdom of expressing their “readiness” to send troops to Ukraine.

Peskov told reporters that “deploying NATO soldiers” to confront elements of the Russian military was an “unprecedented move” by Western leaders. He also warned that the situation called for “special attention and special measures.”

Pentagon spokesperson Matthew Miller responded to the Defense Ministry’s announcement during a May 6 press briefing. He condemned Russia’s “nuclear rhetoric,” calling it “reckless and irresponsible.”

However, Miller confirmed that Defense Department officials saw no reason to “adjust [America’s] own nuclear posture in response to [Russia’s] announcements.” He also noted that the Pentagon hadn’t observed any indication that Russia was “preparing to use a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.”

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