Russia starts military exercises to train use of nuclear weapons

Russia on Tuesday announced the beginning of military exercises aimed at training the use of nuclear weapons.

"In accordance with the instructions of the supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the Russian Federation, the first stage of the exercise began in the Southern Military District under the leadership of the General Staff of the armed forces of the Russian Federation with practical training on the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons," the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The units are practicing launches from the Iskander missile system, from the initial stage of getting it ready to the final stage of carrying out strikes.

"The exercise is aimed at maintaining the readiness of personnel and equipment of units of combat use of non-strategic nuclear weapons to respond and to unconditionally ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state in response to provocative statements and threats by certain Western officials against the Russian Federation," the ministry said.

The exercises are being conducted on the order of President Vladimir Putin, and were announced on May 6. The exact date of the start of the exercises, however, was not announced.

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