Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian military to put nuclear deterrence forces on high alert, Reuters reports.
The decision was made because of NATO’s aggressive stance, Russia said. “I order the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Staff to put the deterrent forces of the Russian army on special combat alert,” Putin said in a televised meeting with his military leaders.
Putin is currently having a televised meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of Staff Valeri Gherasimov.
“Dear colleagues, you see the unfriendly actions of Western countries on the economic side, which we all know about, but senior NATO officials are speaking out against the Russian Federation, which is why I order the Ministry of Defense and the Chief of Staff to step up. to deter the Army in a special alert regime,” Putin said.
The US ambassador to the United Nations reacted immediately, saying that the decision shows that the Russian leader is escalating the conflict in an unacceptable way.
“It means that President Putin is continuing to escalate this war in a manner that is totally unacceptable and we have to continue to stem his actions in the strongest possible way,” Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in interview with CBS “Face the Nation.”
The White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Sunday shortly after Moscow announced it was alerting the Russian army’s “deterrent force replied that Russian President Vladimir Putin “poses non-existent threats,” which could include a nuclear component. “We have the ability to defend ourselves,” Psaki said.
“This is a repeated pattern that we saw from President Putin during this conflict, which is to fabricate threats that do not exist to justify the continuation of an aggression,” Jen Psaki said. “Russia has never been threatened by NATO or Ukraine (…) We will resist. We have the ability to defend ourselves, “she added.
According to public information, Moscow has a stockpile of about 4,310 nuclear warheads. An important part of them are kept in reserve, the rest being installed on various land, sea or air weapons.
One-third of the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons were located in Ukraine, but it gave up after the break-up of the USSR, receiving written guarantees of independence and sovereignty from Russia, the United States and Britain.
It should be noted that Belarus is holding a referendum on Sunday to adopt a new constitution that would renounce the status of a non-nuclear country, at a time when the country has become a launching pad for Russian troops invading Ukraine.