Russia carried out foreboding simulated nuclear missile strikes this week on the border with the European Union and NATO, according to reports.
The Kremlin confirmed the war games Wednesday in Kaliningrad, a small Baltic Sea enclave sandwiched between EU nations Poland and Lithuania, both also members of NATO, according to The Moscow Times.
It included simulated “electronic launches” of nuclear-capable Iskander mobile ballistic missile systems, the independent paper said, citing a defense ministry statement.
The Russian forces practiced multiple strikes at targets imitating launchers of missile systems, airfields, protected infrastructure, military equipment and command posts of a mock enemy, the statement said.
Military personnel also roleplayed avoiding “a possible retaliatory strike” — as well as “actions in conditions of radiation and chemical contamination,” the statement reportedly stressed.
The announcement came on the 70th day of Moscow’s military action in the pro-Western country, with thousands killed and more than 13 million displaced in the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
The simulated strikes came after repeated threats that Russia’s war on Ukraine could lead to full nuclear war.
When President Vladimir Putin announced the invasion in late February, he made a pointed reference to Russia’s nuclear forces and warned the West that any attempt to get in its way “will lead you to such consequences that you have never encountered in your history.”
Days later, he ordered Russia’s nuclear forces to be put on high alert, and last month also tested a missile dubbed “Satan 2” that he said was unstoppable.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres admitted in March that “the prospect of nuclear conflict, once unthinkable, is now back within the realm of possibility.”