Russia Conducts Massive Nuclear Strike Rehearsal

Military Exercises Coincide with Treaty Developments Amid Global Concerns
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Military Exercises Coincide with Treaty Developments Amid Global Concerns

Russia recently executed a large-scale military exercise to rehearse its capability to deliver a “massive” nuclear strike in response to an enemy’s nuclear attack. The announcement came from Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, who reported the exercise to President Vladimir Putin. This event unfolds concurrently with Russia’s parliament endorsing the withdrawal of Moscow’s ratification of a global treaty that prohibits physical testing of nuclear warheads.

The military exercise, conducted in October, involved simulations of delivering a substantial nuclear strike using strategic offensive forces in reaction to an enemy’s nuclear attack, as revealed by Minister Shoigu. The Kremlin issued a statement disclosing that practical launches of ballistic and cruise missiles took place during the exercise.

Among the missile launches, an intercontinental ballistic missile known as Yars was fired from a test site in Russia’s far-east. Additionally, another missile was launched from a nuclear-powered submarine in the Barents Sea. The Russian defense ministry has released footage of these tests.

This demonstration of military readiness follows President Vladimir Putin’s declaration earlier this month about the successful testing of a nuclear-powered cruise missile. This experimental weapon, introduced in 2018, was initially praised for its potentially unlimited range, although independent confirmation of its capabilities remains pending.

The timing of these tests coincides with Russia’s decision to withdraw its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), a move reflecting the United States’ stance. While the U.S. signed the CTBT, it never ratified the treaty.

The CTBT, agreed upon in 1996, prohibits “any nuclear weapon test explosion or any other nuclear explosion” globally. This development regarding Russia’s withdrawal from the treaty emerges against the backdrop of ongoing concerns related to nuclear warfare, particularly in the context of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February of the previous year.

In June, Russia deployed a batch of tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, with President Putin emphasizing that these weapons would only be employed if Russia’s territory or sovereignty faced a direct threat.

The U.S. government has stated that it has no indication of the Kremlin planning to use nuclear weapons for an attack on Ukraine.