Russia launches deadly nuclear missile drills near Poland in menacing threat to Europe

The country’s defence ministry announced the military action on Wednesday amid ongoing fear that could unleash nuclear weapons as the war reaches its 70th day. 

Russian troops practised the simulated “electronic launches” of nuclear-capable Iskander mobile ballistic missile systems in the western enclave of Kaliningrad, the defence ministry said in a statement.

The country’s forces practised single and multiple strikes at targets imitating launchers of missile systems, airfields, protected infrastructure, military equipment and command posts of a mock enemy. 

The military personnel then carried out a manoeuvre to change their position in order to avoid “a possible retaliatory strike”, the defence ministry added.

However, no actual missiles were fired during the simulator tests. 

 

The military units, which involved over 100 troops, are also said to have practised “actions in conditions of radiation and chemical contamination”. 

The threat of using nuclear weapons has been felt since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. 

Shortly after that date, Vladimir Putin put the country’s nuclear forces on high alert. 

The Russian leader has been vocal about a “lightning-fast” retaliation should the West directly intervene in the conflict. 

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Its defence ministry said the combat units were testing their ability to “go on the alert, move to predetermined zones and undertake combat training”, claiming the aim was to “evaluate the readiness and ability of troops to react rapidly to a possible crisis”. 

Ukraine, which has repeatedly accused Belarus of planning to send its troops into Ukraine, said the country will be ready to respond if it attacks. 

But British intelligence said an attack is unlikely and the drill is “in line with seasonal norms”. 

In a statement, the country’s defence ministry said: “Russia will likely seek to inflate the threat posed by these exercises in order to fix Ukrainian forces in the North”. 

Similarly, James Heappey, the UK armed forces minister, also described the Kremlin’s threat of nuclear war as “bravado” as US intelligence says it has seen no sign that Russia has actually increased its nuclear alert status, despite Putin’s threats.