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Russia Expands Tactical Nuclear Drills Across European Border

WorldRussiaRussia Expands Tactical Nuclear Drills Across European Border

June 13, 2024 – Russia has announced the expansion of its tactical nuclear weapons exercises, extending the scope of the maneuvers to include personnel from the Leningrad Military District.

Initially confined to the Southern Military District—which encompasses the Black Sea Fleet and occupied territories in Ukraine—the drills now span nearly the entire European border of Russia, from the Arctic to the Black Sea.

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The Russian Ministry of Defense disclosed details of the ongoing training exercises, which involve the extraction of training warheads for the Iskander-M missiles.

These warheads are being installed and moved covertly to designated launch positions, enhancing the operational readiness of Russia’s missile units. Additionally, crews aboard naval vessels are conducting training exercises related to deploying sea-based cruise missiles.

“The extension of these exercises is a strategic move to ensure comprehensive preparedness of our forces along the entirety of our European border,” said Defense Ministry spokesperson, General Igor Konashenkov. “This also serves as a deterrent to any potential threats from NATO and other neighboring countries.”

The Leningrad Military District’s involvement signifies a considerable escalation, given its geographical location. This district borders several NATO member states, including Norway, Finland, Poland, and the three Baltic states—Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

The drills, thus, send a clear message of military capability and readiness to the alliance and neighboring countries.

Military analysts suggest that the timing and scale of these exercises are likely a response to increased NATO activities and military support to Ukraine.

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Dr. Sergei Markov, a Moscow-based defense expert, commented, “The Kremlin is demonstrating its ability to project power across its entire western frontier. These exercises are as much about deterrence as they are about training.”

In the Southern Military District, the exercises began against the backdrop of ongoing tensions in the Black Sea region and the conflict in Ukraine.

The inclusion of territories occupied in Ukraine within the exercise zone underscores the strategic importance Moscow places on these areas. Training activities here involve not only missile units but also various branches of the armed forces, including the Navy and Air Force.

The international response has been one of heightened concern. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg remarked, “We are closely monitoring the situation.

These exercises, especially given their expanded scope, underscore the need for vigilance and readiness on our part. NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the security and defense of its member states.”

Neighboring countries have also reacted with caution. The Finnish Ministry of Defense issued a statement expressing its concerns over the increased military activities along its border. “We urge Russia to engage in transparent dialogue and reduce activities that could escalate tensions,” the statement read.

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The expansion of Russia’s tactical nuclear exercises comes amid a broader context of deteriorating relations between Russia and the West.

Sanctions, diplomatic expulsions, and a series of military confrontations have characterized the post-2014 era following Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its involvement in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine.

As these drills continue, the international community watches closely, with the hope that this display of military might does not escalate into a broader conflict. The next steps, both diplomatically and militarily, will be critical in shaping the future of European security and stability.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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