Putin orders Russian military chiefs to put nuclear deterrence forces on high alert

RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin has ordered military command to put nuclear deterrence forces on high alert, the international news agency Reuters is reporting.

Speaking at a meeting with his top officials, Putin claimed leading Nato powers had made “aggressive statements” as well as imposing hard-hitting financial sanctions against Russia and leading officials.

He ordered the Russian defense minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a “special regime of combat duty.”

“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading Nato members made aggressive statements regarding our country,” Putin said in televised comments.


A man hugs his twin sons at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, after they fled their home in Ukraine. Picture taken Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru).

The order raises the threat Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.

The Russian leader last week threatened to retaliate harshly against any nations that intervened directly in the conflict in Ukraine.

As he launched the full scale invasion on Thursday morning, he issued a chilling warning to any western allies who might consider coming to Ukraine’s.

He said: “To anyone who would consider interfering from outside: if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history,” he said. “All the relevant decisions have been taken. I hope you hear me.”

Currently no Nato troops are on the ground in Ukraine, but the alliance is sending support through weapons and aid to the country.

Earlier today the UK’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Putin may be prepared to use “the most unsavoury means” to secure victory in Ukraine.

Ms Truss said any use of nuclear or chemical weapons would represent an “extremely serious escalation” of the conflict which could see Russian leaders brought before the International Criminal Court.

Her warning came after the Commons Defence Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said that in the “worst-case scenario” Mr Putin could deploy low yield tactical nuclear weapons if his forces failed to make a breakthrough.

With the Russian advance on the capital, Kyiv, apparently bogged down in the face of fierce Ukrainian resistance, Ms Truss said the survival of Mr Putin’s regime could now be at stake if his invasion plan failed.

READ MORE: Putin may use ‘most unsavoury means’ amid nuclear weapons fears

“This could well be the beginning of the end for Putin. I fear that he is prepared to use the most unsavoury means in this war,” she told Sky News’s Trevor Phillips on Sunday programme.

Asked about Russia’s arsenal of chemical and tactical weapons, she said: “I fear this conflict could be very, very bloody.

“I urge the Russians not to escalate this conflict but we do need to be prepared for Russia to seek to use even worse weapons. I think it would be hugely devastating. We need to avoid this at all costs.”

Speaking later on the BBC’s Sunday morning programme, she said that senior Russian officials could be tried for war crimes “if they do go into that arena”.

“This would be extremely serious escalation of the situation,” she said.

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