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Russia begins drills of tactical nuclear weapons near Ukrainian border

An unnamed Russian anti-ballistic missile flies during a test launch, April 26, 2021. (Russian Ministry of Defense photo/Released)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russian has begun the “first stage” of exercises in the Southern Military District to increase the readiness of tactical nuclear forces near the Ukrainian border, the Defense Ministry said on May 21.

The ministry said the “exercise is aimed at maintaining the readiness of personnel and equipment of nonstrategic nuclear weapons combat units to respond to and unconditionally ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state.”

Plans for the drills were announced on May 6

The West has accused President Vladimir Putin of “saber-rattling” and undertaking a “continuation of Russia’s irresponsible behavior.”