Defense WorldAsiaLatest

Russia Starts Tactical Nuclear Weapons Exercises Near Ukraine

Moscow begins tactical nuclear weapons exercises on Tuesday, as ordered by President Vladimir Putin to simulate the first stage launch of the nuclear weapons near Ukraine in response to the “Proactiveness” of the West.

Follow us on Google News to get the latest defense news and analysis

The Russian Armed Forces of Southern Military District under the command of General Staff of the military started “the first stage of the exercise began with practical development of the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons.” The Russia’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement. 

The development came after the Kremlin linked the drills to what it calls the ‘militant statements’ by the West generally including the French President, which it calls created a severe security threat to Russian Federation.

Also Read:

Russian Modern Jamming Made US HIMARS Ineffective in Russia-Ukraine War

Tactical Nuclear Weapons (TNW) meaning a less capable or low yield nuclear weapons designed to engage enemy units in large on friendly territories. That is why these weapons are sometimes also named as  Non-Strategic Nuclear Weapons (NSNW).

The 1st stage of exercise will involve Kinzhal and Iskandar hypersonic missiles. 

In the first stage of drills, the missile formations will practice the deployment of Iskander tactical missiles, loaded the launch vehicles with them and proactively moved them to the designated targets in a simulated combat environment. 

Russian military vehicles are seen during the first stage of drills
Russian military vehicles are seen during the first stage of drills, involving practical training in the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons, at an unknown location in Russia’s Southern Military District, in this still image taken from video released May 21, 2024. [Russian Defense Ministry/Handout via REUTERS]

These exercises also involved the Russian Aerospace forces. These special forces are tasked with the deployment of the Kinzhal hypersonic ballistic missiles to be equipped with the fighter jets and move the jets to the combat area.

“Russian Aerospace Forces involved in the exercise are practicing equipping aviation weapons with special warheads, including Kinzhal aeroballistic hypersonic missiles, and flying to designated patrol areas.” The Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

Moscow aimed to prepare its special combat units for the use of tactical nuclear weapons in a state of emergency as they received nuclear threats from the western states amid an ongoing Ukraine war. They also aim to prepare its special forces for nuclear war.

“The ongoing exercise is aimed at maintaining the readiness of personnel and equipment of non-strategic nuclear weapons combat units to respond to and unconditionally ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state”. Quoted by the Ministry of Defense of Russia.

Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s Press Secretary accused Britain of the possible dangerous escalation. After the statement of David Cameron, the UK’s Foreign Secretary’s statement. In which he directly threatens Moscow by saying that they will strike inside Russia using British made weapons.

Russian service members take part in the first stage of military drills
Russian service members take part in the first stage of military drills, involving practical training in the preparation and use of non-strategic nuclear weapons, at an unknown location in Russia’s Southern Military District, in this still image taken from video released May 21, 2024. [Russian Defence Ministry/Handout via REUTERS]

The Kremlin further stated that the move (the tactical nuclear drills) will “ensure the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian state”. 

Russia has approximately 1816 non-strategic (tactical) nuclear weapons currently in its arsenal, according to the fact sheet presented by the “Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation” organization.

Analysis:

These nuclear drills by Russia are an answer to the West and the USA about their deep military involvement in the Russia-Ukraine war. As America provides advanced artillery to the Ukrainian military which hurts Moscow. This will also allow the Kremlin to prepare for a full-scale nuclear war.

The 1st stage tactical nuclear drills impose a significant threat to the West. This will force the western countries to deploy nuclear weapons in a combat ready condition. 

More Info About Low-Yield Nuclear Weapon:

What is the nuclear weapon policy of Russia?

Russia nuke policy emphasizes; Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons in response to nuclear attack. Maintaining a credible nuclear deterrent to dissuade potential adversaries. Russia does not adhere to a “no first use” policy, meaning it might use nuclear weapons preemptively. The use of nuclear weapons is under the direct control of the President of Russia.

Russian no first use of nuclear weapons policy?  

Russia does not have a “no first use” (NFU) policy for nuclear weapons. Instead, its military doctrine allows for the use of nuclear weapons in response to an attack with weapons of mass destruction or if the state’s existence is threatened by conventional warfare.

Has anyone used tactical nuclear weapons in war?

No, this low-yield nuclear weapon has not been used by any country in the world and no country can assess the fallout of this low-yield weapon in real combat yet but the full yield nuclear weapon has been used by the USA in 1945 during World War 2 against Japan and the result was devastating.

What is the probability of nuclear war?

The probability of nuclear war is a complex and highly debated topic, influenced by geopolitical tensions, deterrence strategies, and international diplomacy. While exact probabilities are difficult to quantify, if we consider 1% chance in the next 40 years then there would become 99% after 8000 years.

Which entity controls Russia’s nuclear weapons?

Russia’s nuclear weapons are controlled by the Russian Federation’s Strategic Rocket Forces, under the direct authority of the President of Russia.

What is the blast radius of a tactical weapon?

The blast radius of tactical nuclear weapons typically ranges from 1 to 5 kilometers, depending on their yield and design. These smaller, battlefield-specific, low-yield nukes create immense destruction, capable of obliterating entire military units or infrastructure while minimizing wider area damage.

Which countries have non-strategic weapons?

Non-strategic  nuclear weapons countries include the United States, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, and potentially North Korea. These nations maintain these smaller, more precise nuclear arms for specific battlefield scenarios, adding a complex layer to global security dynamics.

Does Pakistan have a low yield nuclear weapon?

Yes, Pakistan possesses tactical nuclear weapons. These are designed for use on the battlefield to counterbalance India’s conventional military superiority, adding a critical dimension to the regional security dynamics in South Asia.

Does France have tactical nukes?

Yes, France has tactical nukes as part of its national defense strategy. These smaller, battlefield-specific nukes enhance France’s deterrence capabilities.

Source:

  1. Reuters
  2. Politico