NATO begins already planned nuclear exercises, and Russia?

This Monday (October 7), the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) begins its annual nuclear deterrent exercises, but with the difference that this year has been marked by ongoing tensions with Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. In addition, Moscow’s threats to use nuclear weapons to “protect” its territory.

The international organization insisted it was a “repetitive and routine exercise” that would last until the end of this month. He also made it clear that it was not related to the conflict with Eastern Europe, as it had already been planned before tensions between Moscow and Kyiv escalated.

The exercises involve long-range B-52 bombers and a total of around sixty aircraft are expected to fly over Belgium, the North Sea and the United Kingdom. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg rejected any suggestion of backing down from the moves.

“It would be a very wrong signal if we suddenly canceled a long-planned routine exercise because of the war in Ukraine,” the head of the alliance said last week.

Will Russia conduct nuclear drills?

Vladimir Putin’s government has not openly expressed its intention to conduct a strategic nuclear exercise (known as Grom) as well, and this generally coincides with this moment as well. This usually involves missiles, submarines and aircraft.

Despite the fact that Russia has raised the tone regarding its nuclear warnings, NATO stressed that it has so far not noticed a significant change in the country’s nuclear posture. Regarding relations between Moscow and this international organization, Putin indicated that a “direct” confrontation would have far-reaching consequences.

“In any case, the direct contact, the direct clash of (NATO) troops with the Russian army is a very dangerous move that could lead to a global catastrophe. I hope those who say it are smart enough not to take that step,” the president said.

Last week, the Kremlin described Western rhetoric against the use of nuclear weapons as “provocative” and reiterated that there was no progress on a possible meeting between the presidents of Russia and the United States, a position confirmed by Putin himself (days later). stating that he “sees no need” for this meeting.

“Every day we express our regret that Western, American and European heads of state engage in nuclear rhetoric. Every day. We think this practice is harmful and provocative. Russia does not want to participate in such practices and does not do so,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

EU plans to train Ukrainian soldiers

The European Union plans to announce this Monday what support it will give to Zelensky’s government, shortly after eight months of clashes with Russian forces. The aid includes a mission to train 15,000 Ukrainian servicemen and supply more weapons.

The foreign ministers of the political bloc met in Luxembourg to give the green light to these two measures. “Morally, politically and even militarily, Russia is losing this war. So we must continue to support Ukraine,” Josep Borrell, who represents the political bloc’s diplomacy, said before the meeting.

Soldier training is one of the announcements that has received the most attention due to the European Union’s aim to prepare a military contingent capable of withstanding the Russian “offensive”.

*With information from AFP and Reuters.

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