As world tensions rise over Russia’s four-day invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has ordered his military’s nuclear deterrent forces to be on high alert.
According to Tass, the state-owned Russian news agency, Putin said the decision was in response to leading NATO states making “aggressive statements” in a meeting of top officials on Sunday.
Russia, like the US, has hundreds of nuclear weapons that it keeps on hand as a deterrent against an attack.
The move is also in response to the West’s announcement of harsh financial sanctions against Russian firms and key persons, including Putin himself, according to the president’s broadcast remarks.
Sergey Shoygu, Russia’s defense minister, and the chief of the military’s general staff have been ordered to place the nuclear deterrent forces on a “special combat duty regime.”