Russia Launches Ballistic Missile: Vladimir Putin surveyed drills conducted by his nuclear-capable forces as Moscow claimed Ukraine was developing a “dirty bomb” to India and China.
It is the latest in a series of escalatory statements from Moscow and Putin that the eight-month conflict in Ukraine could turn nuclear.
An exercise with ground, sea and air strategic deterrence forces was held under the leadership of… Vladimir Putin, during which ballistic and cruise missiles were launched in practice.
The Russian state-run media broadcast footage of a submarine crew preparing to launch a Sineva missile from the Barents Sea.
During the drills, test missiles were also launched from the Kamchatka peninsula in the Russian Far East.
As Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu claimed Ukraine was developing a “dirty bomb,” state media broadcast footage of the drills.
Having made these claims to counterparts from NATO countries in recent days, Shoigu reiterated them to his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe on Wednesday.
– Moscow alleges ‘irresponsible behaviour’ –
Also on Wednesday, Shoigu spoke with India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh about the same “concerns.”
Ukraine and its western allies, including Britain, France, and the United States, have dismissed the allegations as “absurd” and “dangerous.” They suggest they could be a cover for Russia’s own plans on the battlefield.
A dirty bomb is a conventional bomb laced with radioactive, biological, or chemical materials.
A Kremlin spokesman said earlier Wednesday that Russia had information about Ukraine using a “dirty bomb,” and that Kyiv was preparing for such an act.
“We will continue to vigorously convey our point of view to the world community to encourage them to take action against such irresponsible behavior,” he said.
After Russian forces took partial control of four regions of Ukraine in September, Putin warned Russia could use nuclear weapons to defend the territories.
– Advance on Kherson –
Kherson, in southern Ukraine near Moscow-annexed Crimea, is one of those regions where Kyiv has reclaimed territory since end-of-summer counteroffensive.
Recently, Russian-backed authorities have urged residents of Kherson to flee an oncoming onslaught, claiming the city has been turned into a “fortress”, which will be defended at all costs.
Moscow-installed official Vladimir Saldo said Wednesday that at least 70,000 people have fled their homes in the past week.
Kyiv would regain access to the Sea of Azov and cut off Moscow’s land bridge to the Russian-annexed Crimea if it captured Kherson.
As a result of the tense situation on the contact line, Balance banned entry to the right bank area of the region for seven days.
Hundreds of foreigners volunteered to help fend off Russian advances during Russia’s offensive to capture Ukrainian territory.
Ukraine announced Wednesday that Russia had returned the remains of US citizen Joshua Alan Jones, who was killed fighting Moscow’s forces in August, along with 10 Ukrainian servicemen.
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