World Bulletin/News Desk
While much Western attention has been bestowed on Russia’s military buildup near Ukraine, Moscow also began a massive nuclear offensive exercise on Thursday, media reports say.
According to the Russian daily Nezavisimaya Gazeta, Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces began a massive three-day exercise involving 10,000 soldiers and 1,000 pieces of equipment from more than 30 units. The major purpose of the drill, according to the report—which cites multiple senior Russian military officers—is to ensure Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces have sufficient readiness to conduct offensive operations involving the massive and simultaneous use of nuclear missiles.
The Diplomat says as Russia’s conventional military capabilities have deteriorated following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow has become increasingly reliant on operationalizing its nuclear arsenal. This has been reflected in successive Russian security documents. For example, Russia’s 1997 national security concept stated that Russia would use its nuclear arsenal “in case of a threat to the existence of the Russian Federation,” whether that threat came in the form of nuclear weapons or from a conventionally superior military power.
Troops were expected to conduct surveillance for chemical, biological and radiological threats, as well as to identify and stop conventional efforts to thwart the offensive.
Russian strategic missile forces chief Col. Gen. Sergei Karakaev first unveiled plans for the command staff exercise in December, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported. The drill was expected to focus on the Omsk and Orenburg armies of Karakaev's missile forces, and to involve 1,000 pieces of equipment belonging to more than 30 units of the Russian military.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta article said there was no connection between the current nuclear exercise and the crisis in Ukraine. As evidence of this, it pointed out that in December of last year the commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces had said that his forces would conduct a large and complicated exercise sometime during 2014. From this, the Russian daily concluded that the drill had been planned for weeks and was completely unrelated to the tensions of Ukraine.
At the same time, it ended the article by noting that testing the readiness of Russia’s strategic forces was especially important in light of the “current reality of the world situation.”Last Mod: 06 Nisan 2014, 15:34