Putin threatens nuclear strikes over ‘aggressive statements’ by NATO leaders
He gave the order at a meeting with the Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Ukrinform reports with reference to Interfax.
"Senior officials of leading NATO countries make aggressive statements against our country, so I order the Minister of Defense and the Chief of General Staff to switch the deterrence forces of the Russian army to a special combat duty regime," Putin said.
He mentioned "such unfriendly actions of Western countries as illegitimate sanctions in the economic sphere."
Strategic deterrence forces, as stated on the website of the Ministry of Defense, are "the basis of combat power of the Russian Armed Forces, aimed to deter aggression against Russia and its allies, as well as defeat an aggressor in war using various weapons, including nuclear".
Russian president Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine on February 24 and launched a large-scale invasion. For the fourth day already, Russian troops have been shelling and destroying key infrastructure. Missiles hit residential buildings.
Martial law was imposed in Ukraine and general mobilization was announced.
According to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Russia lost 4,300 servicemen over the three days of the war.
Ukraine officially filed a lawsuit against the Russian Federation at the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague.
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