Russian Tactical Nuclear Drills Triggered By US Arms Shipment To Ukraine

( – Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022, expecting it to be an easy win. The war is now in its third year, and the Ukrainian military is still holding its own—with the help of the Western world. Russia recently announced tactical nuclear drills for the first time.

On May 6, Russia’s Defense Ministry stated the country would hold drills that involved tactical nuclear weapons. Those are nuclear weapons that have a small yield of about 1 kiloton and are used against enemy troops. To put that into perspective, the nuclear bomb the US dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, after the attack on Pearl Harbor contained 15 kilotons.

Tactical battlefield weapons can be used as short-range missiles or aerial bombs that are very compact. The military can carry them discreetly in a vehicle or a plane. They’re also not limited by any arms control agreement between the US and Moscow. That means Russia could use them without fear of breaking an international treaty.

Russian President Vladimir Putin allegedly ordered his military to carry out the drills in response to the US shipment of aid to Ukraine. America sent fighter jets and missiles to the Eastern European nation. After the shipment, sources told Newsweek that Putin ordered Russia’s General Staff to begin practicing how to use the smaller strategic nuclear weapons.

Putin reportedly wanted to show his enemies that his military has small nuclear weapons, but didn’t necessarily intend to use them on the battlefield. Instead, the move is meant to demonstrate “that the weapons exist.” The US State Department isn’t concerned, saying it has “not seen any reason to adjust [its] own nuclear posture.”

Last year, Putin moved some of the tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, its main ally in the process. The country’s president, Alexander Lukashenko, has long called for Putin to keep his nukes there. Both leaders claimed the weapons were moved there to counter threats from the US and its NATO allies.

Copyright 2024,