Russia has notified the United States of the start of its annual nuclear exercises

فلاديمير بوتين

US officials say Russia has notified the United States of the start of its annual nuclear exercises

According to US officials, Russia has notified the United States that its annual nuclear exercises have begun and will include the launch of nuclear-capable missiles starting Wednesday.

US officials have described the annual exercise as "routine" at this time of year. Still, it will nonetheless be conducted against increased Russian statements about the use of nuclear weapons in Ukraine.

Earlier this month, a senior military official said that Russia's "GROM" or Thunder nuclear exercises typically involve large-scale maneuvers of strategic nuclear forces, including live missile launches. Officials expected the annual training for several weeks but only recently received notification from Russia.

"Russia is complying with its arms control and transparency obligations to provide those notifications," Pentagon press secretary Brig. General Patrick Ryder told reporters Tuesday after confirming the US notification of the annual exercise.

The Russian exercises coincide with the long-planned NATO nuclear exercise SteadfastNone. This year's NATO exercises, hosted by Belgium, take place from October 17 to October 30 and involve 14 countries.

US B-52 long-range bombers from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota will participate. The exercise includes fourth and fifth-generation combat aircraft, but no live weapons will be used.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters earlier this month that the NATO exercise was aimed at ensuring that NATO's nuclear deterrence capabilities remained "safe, secure, and effective."

Stoltenberg said NATO would "monitor" the Russian exercises and "remain vigil at least in light of the hidden nuclear threats and the dangerous nuclear rhetoric that we've seen from the Russian side."

The last time Russia conducted a nuclear exercise was in February, just before it invaded Ukraine.

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