Putin risks disaster with plot to ‘intimidate NATO’ in nuclear threat
Putin warns about response to UK supplying ammo to Ukraine
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Russia has decided to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus with Vladimir Putin’s announcement on Saturday being taken as a clear warning to NATO amid escalating tensions with the West. Although the move was not entirely unexpected, it represents one of Russia’s most clear-cut nuclear threats since the beginning of its invasion of Ukraine just over a year ago.
Putin has maintained that the deployment would not violate Russia’s nuclear non-proliferation pledges. In recent times, some hawkish Russian politicians and commentators have speculated about the possibility of nuclear strikes, arguing that Russia has the right to defend itself with nuclear weapons if it is pushed beyond its limits.
Hans Kristensen, director of the nuclear information project at the Federation of American Scientists, said: “This is part of Putin’s game to try to intimidate NATO … because there is no military utility from doing this in Belarus as Russia has so many of these weapons and forces inside Russia.”
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons has branded Putin’s announcement an extremely dangerous escalation.
In a statement on Twitter, the organisation said: “In the context of the war in Ukraine, the likelihood of miscalculation or misinterpretation is extremely high.
“Sharing nuclear weapons makes the situation much worse and risks catastrophic humanitarian consequences.”
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Ministry of Defence reports uptick in Russian kamikaze drone attacks for March
Since the beginning of March 2023, Russia appears to have launched at least 71 Iranian-designed Shahed series one-way attack uncrewed aerial vehicles (OWA-UAVs) against various targets across Ukraine, according to the Ministry of Defence.
The MoD’s latest intelligence update reads: “These attacks followed a two-week pause in OWA-UAV attacks in late February 2023. Russia has likely started receiving regular resupplies of small numbers of Shahed OWA-UAVs. Russia is likely launching Shaheds from two axes: from Russia’s Krasnodar Krai in the east and from Bryansk Oblast in the north-east. This allows Russia flexibility to target a broad sector of Ukraine and decreases flying time to targets in the north of Ukraine. It is also likely to be a further attempt to stretch Ukrainian air defences.”
Good morning from London. I’m Tim McNulty, I’ll be bringing you all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. Please feel free to get in touch with me as I work if you have a story or tips to share! Your thoughts are always welcome.
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