Putin Supervises Strategic Nuclear Drill

Global Security Newswire Staff
May 8, 2014, 6:59 a.m.

Rus­sia on Thursday con­duc­ted a nuc­le­ar re­sponse drill in­volving the launches of land- and sea-based mis­siles, amid con­tinu­ing ten­sions with the West.

Pres­id­ent Vladi­mir Putin su­per­vised the nuc­le­ar ex­er­cise, which he as­ser­ted had been in the works since Novem­ber — months be­fore fric­tion with NATO skyrock­eted over Rus­sia’s in­cur­sion in­to Ukraine, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted.

The drill in­volved the sim­u­la­tion of a large-scale re­tali­at­ory nuc­le­ar at­tack in re­sponse to a strike on Rus­sia, ac­cord­ing to Rus­si­an news re­ports. As part of the ex­er­cise, a To­pol in­ter­con­tin­ent­al bal­list­ic mis­sile was fired from the Ple­setsk launch fa­cil­ity in the north­west­ern part of the coun­try, and two sub­mar­ines as­signed to the Pa­cific and North­ern fleets test-fired long-range bal­list­ic mis­siles, ac­cord­ing to the Rus­si­an de­fense min­istry.

Stra­tegic bombers also par­ti­cip­ated in the drill, ac­cord­ing to the state-con­trolled IT­AR-Tass news ser­vice.

Putin su­per­vised the ex­er­cise from de­fense min­istry headquar­ters where he was ac­com­pan­ied by the pres­id­ents of Be­larus, Ar­menia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyz­stan.

Ten­sions between Rus­sia and NATO have ris­en to their highest point since the end of the Cold War. U.S. European Com­mand head Gen. Philip Breed­love on Tues­day said the al­li­ance would weigh wheth­er to per­man­ently base mil­it­ary per­son­nel in East­ern Europe as a re­sponse to events in Ukraine.

Were NATO to take that step, Rus­sia could re­tali­ate by field­ing tac­tic­al Iskander mis­siles in the Ka­lin­in­grad ex­clave, which bor­ders mul­tiple al­li­ance coun­tries, the former head of the Rus­si­an de­fense min­istry’s in­ter­na­tion­al agree­ments de­part­ment told RIA Nov­osti.

“Rus­sia is a nuc­le­ar power,” Lt. Gen. Yev­geny Buzh­in­sky said. “If NATO be­comes more act­ive, we will de­ploy a di­vi­sion of Iskander mis­siles in [the] Ka­lin­in­grad re­gion.

Mo­scow has warned re­peatedly over the years that it could de­ploy the bal­list­ic mis­sile to its ex­clave, which is situ­ated between Po­land and Lithuania. The lat­ter coun­try earli­er this week said Rus­sia had uni­lat­er­ally sus­pen­ded a bi­lat­er­al agree­ment that per­mits Lithuania to in­spect Rus­si­an forces in Ka­lin­in­grad.

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