Russia begins first phase of its exercises with tactical nuclear weapons

Russia begins first phase of its exercises with tactical nuclear weapons
Russia begins first phase of its exercises with tactical nuclear weapons

(CNN Spanish) — The Russian Armed Forces have begun exercises that include “practical guidance on the training and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons,” the Defense Ministry announced Tuesday.

“During this stage, the missile formations of the Southern Military District train to receive special ammunition for the Iskander tactical missile system, equip the launchers with it and advance covertly to the designated position zone for preparations for the missile launch,” the ministry said.

Russian units participating in the exercise “will train to attach special warheads to aviation weapons, including Kinzhal hypersonic aeroballistic missiles, and conduct sorties to designated patrol areas,” the statement added.

The Ministry reiterated that “the objective of the exercise is to maintain the readiness of personnel and equipment of non-strategic nuclear weapons combat units for a response and with a view to unconditionally safeguarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian State in response to the provocative statements and threats by certain Western officials against the Russian Federation.”

President Vladimir Putin ordered the tactical nuclear weapons exercises earlier this month in light of statements made by Western officials that he said posed a threat to Russian security.

Non-strategic nuclear weapons, also known as tactical, have less power than strategic ones – capable of destroying cities – and are small enough to be easily moved and fired by conventional systems.

In his message to the Federal Assembly last February, Putin declared that his country was suspending its participation in the Treaty on Strategic Offensive Weapons, accusing the United States of developing new types of nuclear weapons. Putin then stressed that Russia would not be the first to test nuclear weapons, but that it would do so if the United States did so, according to the state news agency RIA Novosti.

With information from Anna Chernova.

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