Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday monitored drills by his country’s strategic nuclear forces involving multiple practice launches of ballistic and cruise missiles.
Defense minister Sergei Shoigu reported to Putin that the exercise was intended to simulate a “massive nuclear strike” by Russia in retaliation for a nuclear attack on the country.
The maneuvers followed Putin’s warning about his readiness to use “all means available” to fend off attacks on Russia’s territory in a reference to the country’s nuclear arsenals.
Wednesday’s drills involved the test-firing of a Yars land-based intercontinental ballistic missile from the northern Plesetsk launch site and the launch of a Sineva ICBM by a Russian nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea.
As part of the exercise, Tu-95 strategic bombers also launched cruise missiles at practice targets.
The Kremlin said that all tasks set for the exercise were fulfilled and all the missiles that were test-fired reached their designated targets.
Such drills involving land, sea and air components have taken place on an annual basis to train the country’s nuclear forces and demonstrate their readiness.
The Biden administration said Tuesday that Russia gave notice it intended to stage routine drills of its nuclear capabilities.
The Pentagon and U.S. State Department said Russia had complied with the terms of the last U.S.-Russia arms control agreement in notifying Washington of the upcoming tests.
The Russian nuclear exercise comes amid Moscow’s warnings of a purported Ukrainian plot to detonate a radioactive device commonly known as a “dirty bomb” in a false flag attack to blame Russia.
Putin himself repeated the dirty bomb claim on Wednesday. Shoigu also called his Chinese and Indian counterparts on Wednesday to discuss it. Ukraine and its Western allies strongly reject the allegation.
The Ukrainian government has said it suspects Russia is planning its own false flag operation.