Update(8:48ET): Russia has hailed the 'success' of Wednesday scheduled annual nuclear drills, after President Vladimir Putin oversaw the exercises from a command and control room.
RIA news agency quoted the Kremlin as saying, "Under the leadership of the Supreme Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces Vladimir Putin, a training session was held with ground, sea and air strategic deterrence forces, during which practical launches of ballistic and cruise missiles took place."
The defense ministry also published brief footage of some of the drills in action...
⚡️Tu-95MS from today’s nuclear exercises. pic.twitter.com/fZkHn7Jsux— War Monitor (@WarMonitors) October 26, 2022
The Kremlin additionally said that "all missiles hit their targets in the drills," and that the exercise was undertaken to "prepare for possible enemy nuclear attack against Russia," according to TASS.
Russia launches Soyuz rocket pic.twitter.com/plTWsFizI8— Russian Market (@runews) October 26, 2022
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With NATO's "Steadfast Noon" annual nuclear drills already ongoing in the North Sea region, and led by B-52 bombers from the United States, Russia has formally notified Washington it is kicking off nuclear exercises of its own.
Two US officials cited in a Tuesday CBS report say the notification from Moscow specified that the annual exercises are to include "launches of nuclear capable missiles starting Wednesday."
The timing of the two sides holding "annual" nuclear exercises couldn't be worse, with the Ukraine war now hitting the eight-month mark - and tit-for-tat false flag accusations currently being hurled between the warring parties.
Russia says Ukraine forces are preparing to unleash a "dirty bomb" which will be blamed on Kremlin forces, while Kiev has alleged the Russians are preparing a "terrorist act" using spent nuclear fuel from the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
According to more on the announced Russian exercises via the new CBS reporting:
The annual exercise has been described by U.S. officials as "routine" around this time of year but nevertheless will take place against heightened Russian rhetoric about using nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
The Russian "Grom," or Thunder nuclear exercise, typically involves large-scale maneuvers of strategic nuclear forces, including live missile launches, a senior military official said earlier this month. Officials have expected the annual exercise for several weeks but only recently received notification from Russia.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has meanwhile said the Western military alliance will closely "monitor" the Grom drills, saying it "will remain vigilant not least in light of the veiled nuclear threats and the dangerous nuclear rhetoric we have seen from the Russian side."
The administration’s position is now:— David Sacks (@DavidSacks) October 25, 2022
1. There will be no diplomatic track.
2. Military aid will be virtually unlimited and go on forever.
3. Only Zelensky can decide when and how the war ends.
4. Even though (according to Biden) the war could escalate into Armageddon.
Also deeply alarming is the fact that negotiations seem a distant possibility at this point. The US position is that Ukraine must achieve "victory" - and that ceasefire dialogue with Russia is a decision for President Zelensky alone.
Russia's military and the Pentagon just within the last days reaffirmed that they are keeping "open lines of communication" - precisely so that inadvertent escalation can be avoided.