Russia, Belarus launch second stage of joint tactical nuclear weapons drills

Russia and its ally Belarus on Tuesday launched a second stage of drills intended to train their troops in tactical nuclear weapons, part of the Kremlin's efforts to discourage the West from ramping up support for Ukraine.

In announcing the nuclear maneuvers last month, the Russian Defense Ministry said they were in response to “provocative statements and threats of certain Western officials regarding the Russian Federation.”

The Kremlin has expressed outrage after French President Emmanuel Macron said he doesn't exclude deploying troops to Ukraine, and the U.S. and some other NATO allies allowed Kyiv to use the weapons supplied by them for striking targets on the Russian territory.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that such drills and maintaining combat readiness are important in view of the “hostile decisions and actions” by the U.S. and its allies in Europe and their “daily provocations.”

The first stage of the exercise last month envisaged a preparation for nuclear missions and deployment for launches, according to the Defense Ministry. The Russian military had trained separately during the initial stage of the maneuvers before joint drills with Belarusian forces.

Read more on FRANCE 24 English

Read also:
Russia reports battlefield gains in Donetsk region ahead of Ukraine summit
Russia will not 'stop at Ukraine', Biden says after talks with Macron
Russian warships en route to Cuba for military exercise expected to arrive next week