Vladimir Putin moves nuclear drills to NATO’s doorstep igniting WW3 fears | World | News by StuffsEarth

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There are growing concerns that Vladimir Putin’s war games could spill over into real-life conflict. This comes after Russia abruptly moved its nuclear military drills to a territory bordering NATO members Norway, Finland, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

On Wednesday, Russia confirmed that soldiers and sailors from its northern Leningrad military district bordering the NATO states took part in drills to deploy tactical nuclear weapons. Western countries were not warned about the abrupt change.

In May, President Vladimir Putin ordered the joint drills with Belarus to take place in the Southern Military district bordering Ukraine.

Russia only formed the Leningrad military district in February in response to Finland joining the NATO alliance. At the time, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a US-based think tank, assessed that the move indicated that President Putin is preparing for a potential large-scale war with NATO in the future.

The drills now cover almost all of Russia’s European border, which stretches from the Arctic Ocean down to the Black Sea.

Speaking to reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the situation in Europe was “quite tense” and that the drills this week and maintaining combat readiness were important given the “daily hostile decisions and actions” by the US and its allies.

The exercises, which are intended to train Russia’s military in tactical nuclear weapons, were a response to Western officials permitting Ukraine to strike deep into Russia with Western weapons.

They were also announced after French President Emmanuel Macron said he would not rule out deploying troops to Ukraine under certain conditions

Russia’s defence ministry said that Wednesday’s drills included obtaining special training ammunition for the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system, equipping launch vehicles with them, and covertly advancing to the designated position area for preparations for missile launches.

A video released by the Russian defence ministry showed a missile system being escorted to a field as well as a rocket being loaded into a warship.

Last week, President Putin suggested that Western provocations could force Russia to amend its nuclear doctrine, which lays out the conditions under which it can use such weapons.

He told the St Petersburg International Economic Forum that Russia is “carefully watching what is happening in the world around us and do not exclude making some changes to this doctrine”.

During the conference, President Putin said that the West was wrong to assume that Russia would never use its atomic bombs.

He said that many of Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons were 70-75 kilotons of explosive power – around five times the size of the US nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945.

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