Vladimir Putin partakes in his military forces nuclear war drill ‘GROM’ in Russia amid growing fears Moscow may trigger a major escalation in the Ukraine war.
The Russian president oversaw the tests, which had been planned for some time, via video link from an office.
During the exercises, the country’s nuclear forces carried out multiple practice launches of ballistic and cruise missiles.
Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said Mr Putin had overseen the training, which he said was being held to practice delivering a “huge nuclear strike in response to an enemy nuclear strike”.
The manoeuvres followed Mr Putin’s warning about his readiness to use “all means available” to fend off attacks on Russia’s territory, in a clear reference to the country’s nuclear arsenals.
The drills saw the test-firing of a Yars land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the launch of a Sineva ICBM by a Russian nuclear submarine and the Tu-95 strategic bombers set off cruise missiles at practice targets.