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Russia firing nuclear-capable missiles with dummy heads: Ukraine officials

Russia's submarine-launched intercontinental ballistic missiles launched Dec. 12, 2020. (Russian Ministry of Defense/Released)

Putin is shooting blanks.

Military officials in Ukraine reportedly claim the Russian military is firing nuclear-capable X-55 cruise missiles with non-explosive heads into the western regions of the independent nation that’s been under invasion since February.

The projectiles are intended to “exhaust the [Ukraine] air-defense system,” a Ukrainian official was quoted saying by the BBC.

Military experts reportedly believe Russian forces may be low on explosives as a result of heavy missile barrages in recent weeks that have knocked out Ukrainian energy infrastructure with winter on the way.

Putin urged his government late last month to step up production of its military arsenal in the face of stiff Ukrainian defenses and aggressive counter-offensives.

A U.K. intelligence report last week warned unarmed munitions hitting infrastructure at a high-rate of speed are still dangerous, though it also concluded Russia was likely firing non-explosive warheads to “divert” Ukrainian air defense systems.

That report posited that Putin’s military is using “aging nuclear cruise missiles.” It, too, surmised, “this improvisation highlights the level of depletion in Russia’s stock of long-range missiles.”

Ukrainian officials said the nuclear-capable weapons landing in west Ukraine did not show abnormal levels of radiation.

President Biden met with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, with both leaders emphasizing their ongoing support of Ukraine. Aide from NATO nations including the U.S. and France have been instrumental in Ukraine’s fierce resistance.

“He’s just miscalculated across the board,” Biden said of Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.


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