October 16, 2022 Russia-Ukraine News

NATO and Russia are set to separately hold long-planned exercises of their nuclear forces at a time of enormous tension over Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The Pentagon and the US intelligence community are monitoring any unexpected or unusual movement of Moscow’s nuclear weapons during the Russian exercise, which is expected to take place before the end of the month, according to several US officials.

“We believe that Russia’s nuclear rhetoric and decision to conduct this exercise while at war with Ukraine is irresponsible,” a senior defense official told CNN.

The Russian exercise called Grom, which roughly translates to thunder, is conducted annually, according to the United States. “We expect the exercise to last several days,” said John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator at the National Security Council. This will include live missile launches and deployment of strategic assets.

This is what NATO will do: On Monday, NATO will begin its annual nuclear exercise known as Steadfast Noon, with the United States among the 14 participating countries. It has been conducted annually for more than a decade, according to the Pentagon.

The exercise includes fighter jets capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but there will be no live weapons on board. The United States will provide B-52 bombers flying from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota. The main exercise area will be over 625 miles from Russia. The goal is to ensure that NATO’s nuclear deterrent remains “credible, effective, safe and secure”, the defense official said.

According to NATO, up to 60 aircraft will be involved, including advanced fighter jets, surveillance aircraft and tanker aircraft. The flights will take place over Belgium, the United Kingdom and the North Sea.

Biden warns of unprecedented nuclear threat: Although the Russian drill is routine, it comes after President Joe Biden issued a stark warning earlier this month about the danger of nuclear threats from President Vladimir Putin as Moscow faces military setbacks in Ukraine.

“For the first time since the Cuban Missile Crisis, we have a direct threat of the use of (a) nuclear weapon if, in fact, things continue on the path they are on,” Biden warned during an interview. a speech at a Democratic fundraiser in New York.

He added: “I don’t think there is such a thing as the ability (to) easily use a tactical nuke and not end up with Armageddon.”

After Biden’s remarks, administration officials pointed out that the United States had still not seen evidence that Putin was moving toward using Russia’s nuclear capability, and that there is no had no information showing that he had decided to do so.

The United States and its allies are monitoring the exercises more closely: The tension over Ukraine means that there will be even more control over the Russian exercise.

The exercise is expected to focus on strategic weapons, meaning testing of ballistic missile systems for which Russia would be required to provide advance notice under treaty obligations.

NATO and US officials said they were confident they would be able to accurately monitor any Russian nuclear activity during the exercise. “We will remain vigilant, especially in light of the veiled nuclear threats and the dangerous nuclear rhetoric we have seen from the Russian side,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

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