Amidst tensions with Ukraine, Putin orders Nuclear Forces to be on high alert
As international tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine escalated, President Vladimir Putin took “unprecedented” post-Cold War action on Sunday, ordering his nuclear deterrent forces to be on alert. Putin said the decision, which implies the country’s nuclear weapons are prepared for increased readiness to launch. The decision was in response to NATO powers making “aggressive statements” in a meeting broadcast on Russian television on Sunday. Russia, like the United States and NATO, retains hundreds of nuclear bombs as a deterrent to an attack.
In televised remarks, Putin said the measure was also a reaction to the West’s announcement of tough financial sanctions against Russian firms and key figures, including himself. Sergey Shoygu, Russia’s defence minister, and Gen. Valery Gerasimov, the chief of the military’s general staff have been ordered to place the nuclear deterrent forces on a “special combat duty regime.”
“President Putin is continuing to escalate this war in a manner that is simply intolerable,” said Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States ambassador to the United Nations. Putin had promised a vehement retaliation against any Western power that attempted to obstruct him in Ukraine. He gave an alert that any attempt to interfere “will lead you to such consequences that you have never faced in your history”.
The United States reaffirmed the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, with Russia for another five years in February 2021. The deal, signed in 2010 by Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, set the lowest limitations on nuclear warheads deployed by the US and Russia, as well as the land- and submarine-based missiles and bombers that launch them, in decades.
Vladimir Putin met with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov https://t.co/iFxbt46gjR
— President of Russia (@KremlinRussia_E) February 27, 2022
“I order the defence minister and the chief of the general staff of the Russian armed forces to put the deterrence forces of the Russian army into a special mode of combat service,” Putin said. In response to an invasion threat, Putin has vowed to deploy nuclear weapons for the second time. Putin made veiled warnings regarding nuclear missiles in the first 24 hours of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, saying that any NATO country that gets involved directly will face “such consequences that you have never faced in your history.” Despite the fact that Putin did not reference nuclear weapons expressly in his speech, many Western experts feel he did.
The conflict in Ukraine is still going on. As the assault progresses, Ukrainian soldiers continue to control the two key cities of Kharkiv and Kyiv. Russian troops have been sighted approaching Kharkiv, although the city remains under Ukrainian control. The strength of Ukraine’s air defence has shocked Russians. Officials in Ukraine have also begun enlisting foreigners to assist in the fight against the invasion.
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