NATO and Russia hold long-planned drills for nuclear forces as tensions persist over Ukraine




CNN

NATO and Russia are set to conduct long-planned exercises of their nuclear forces at a time of enormous tension as Russia continues to do so. war on ukraine.

The Pentagon and the US intelligence community are watching for any unexpected or unusual movements of Moscow’s nuclear weapons during Russian exercises, which are expected to take place before the end of the month, according to several US officials.

We believe that this Russian nuclear rhetoric and its decision to continue this practice during the war with Ukraine is irresponsible. A senior defense official told CNN that promoting nuclear weapons to coerce the United States and its allies is irresponsible.

According to the United States, the Russian exercise called grom, which roughly translates to thunder, is performed every year. We expect the exercises to span several days. It will include measures within the normal limits of what Russia has done in the past. “It will include firing live missiles and deploying strategic assets,” said John Kirby, the strategic communications coordinator for the National Security Council.

Although the Russian exercises are routine, they come after President Joe Biden Issue a stark warning earlier this month on the threat of nuclear threats to President Vladimir Putin as Moscow continues to face military setbacks in Ukraine.

“For the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, we have a direct threat to use a nuclear (weapon) if things actually continue on the path they are on,” Biden warned during remarks at a Democratic fundraiser in New York.

“I don’t think there is such a thing as being able to (use) a tactical nuclear weapon so easily and Armageddon never ending,” he added.

After Biden’s remarks, administration officials stressed that the United States still saw no evidence that Putin was moving toward using a Russian nuclear capability, nor was there any intelligence to show that he decided to do so.

Tensions over Ukraine mean there will be more scrutiny of Russian exercises. Officials told CNN that the United States is constantly monitoring Russian nuclear assets, but that the Pentagon will monitor the exercises for any indication that Russian strategic forces or nuclear weapons movements are anything other than routine and expected.

The exercise is expected to focus on strategic weapons, i.e. tests of ballistic missile systems that will require Russia to provide advance notice under treaty obligations.

NATO and US officials said they were confident they would be able to accurately monitor any Russian nuclear activity during the exercises. “We will monitor that, as we always do. Of course, we will remain vigilant at least in light of the hidden nuclear threats and the dangerous nuclear rhetoric that we have seen from the Russian side,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

On Monday, NATO begins its annual nuclear exercises known as Steadfast Noon, with the participation of the United States among 14 countries. It’s performed annually for more than a decade, according to the Pentagon.

The exercises include fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear warheads but there will be no live weapons on board. The United States will provide B-52 bombers flying from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The main exercise area will be more than 625 miles from Russia. The goal, the defense official said, is to ensure that NATO’s nuclear deterrent remains “reliable, effective, safe and secure.”

According to NATO, there will be up to 60 combined aircraft including advanced combat aircraft, surveillance aircraft and tanker aircraft. The flights will take place over Belgium, the UK and the North Sea.


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