Russia rehearses delivering tactical nuclear weapons with dummy warheads

    REGION  13 June 2024 - 19:40

    Russian drills to deploy tactical nuclear weapons for combat involved the special delivery of dummy nuclear warheads to forward storage points and an airfield where they were loaded onto bombers, according to Russia's elite nuclear unit.
     
    President Vladimir Putin ordered the nuclear drills after what Russia said were threats from the West, including signals from Western officials that they would allow Ukraine to strike deep into Russia with Western weapons.
     
    According to Reuters, drills have taken place in the south of Russia, which borders Ukraine, and with the involvement of soldiers from the Leningrad military district in Russia's northwest, and have included mobile missile launchers, the air force and the navy.
     
    In a rare statement, Russia's 12 Main Directorate (12 GU MO), which guards, maintains, transports and delivers Russia's vast arsenal of nuclear weapons, said that the drills would be analysed to make improvements.
     
    The nuclear directorate "ensured the delivery of nuclear training munitions to the field storage points of the missile brigade's positional area and the operational airfield of assault aviation," it said.
     
    "Further improvement of the training of non-strategic nuclear forces will be determined in order to ensure the fulfilment of tasks in various scenarios for the development of the military-political situation."
     
    Footage released by the defence ministry showed Russian sailors focusing on a dummy target and then counting down to launch, including pressing the "launch" button.
     
    Russia says the United States and its European allies are pushing the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation by giving Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, some of which are being used against Russian territory.
     
    Russia and the United States are by far the world's biggest nuclear powers, holding about 88% of the world's nuclear weapons, according to the Federation of American Scientists, opens new tab.

    The United States has about 100 non-strategic B61 nuclear weapons deployed in five European countries - Italy, Germany, Türkiye, Belgium and the Netherlands, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The U.S. has another 100 such weapons within its borders.

    Russia has about 1,558 non-strategic nuclear warheads, though arms control experts say it is very difficult to say just how many there are due to secrecy.

    Putin said last week that many of Russia's tactical nuclear weapons were 70-75 kilotons of explosive power - around five times the size of the U.S. nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945.

    Caliber.Az

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