Fears of WW3 Spike as Putin Commands Tactical Nuclear Drills in Russia

Russia intensifies military readiness amid geopolitical tensions

by Zain ul Abedin
Fears of WW3 Spike as Putin Commands Tactical Nuclear Drills in Russia
© Thomas Kronsteiner/Getty Images

In a move that has reignited global concerns about the potential for escalated conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin has directed the country's Ministry of Defence to conduct exercises with non-strategic nuclear weapons, also known as tactical nukes.

This development comes amidst growing tensions between Moscow and NATO, further complicating the volatile international landscape. According to statements released by Russian media, the exercises are being organized under direct orders from Putin, who holds the title of Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

"To increase the readiness of non-strategic nuclear forces to carry out combat missions, the General Staff has commenced preparations for holding exercises shortly with missile formations of the Southern Military District," the Ministry noted the inclusion of both aviation and naval forces.

Alarming Nuclear Drills

While the upcoming maneuvers are expected to test the operational capabilities of these tactical nuclear weapons, sources such as RIA clarify that the exercises are unlikely to involve actual detonations.

However, the context of these drills is notably alarming. In November 2023, Putin took the significant step of withdrawing Russia's ratification of the 1996 Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which had prohibited Russia from conducting nuclear tests.

The Kremlin cited the United States' failure to ratify the treaty as a key reason for this decision. The Defence Ministry has articulated that these latest exercises are a response to what it describes as "provocative statements and threats by individual Western officials" towards Russia.

This rhetoric is part of a broader narrative from the Russian government, which has repeatedly emphasized its readiness to deploy nuclear capabilities if it perceives threats to its sovereignty or independence. Putin's rhetoric escalated further in his recent state-of-the-nation address, where he issued a stark warning to Western nations about the risks of nuclear war should they deepen their involvement in the ongoing Ukraine conflict.

Despite these threats, Putin, in an interview with Russian state television, downplayed the immediate likelihood of using battlefield nuclear weapons in Ukraine and dismissed the notion that the world stands on the precipice of nuclear war.

He characterized U.S. President Joe Biden as an experienced politician who understands the grave implications of such an escalation.