Russian missile drills begin amid mounting Ukraine tensions

Moscow, Feb 19 (EFE).- The Russian military on Saturday began exercises with ballistic and cruise missiles presided over by President Vladimir Putin amid simmering tension with the West over an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine.

According to the Interfax news agency, the Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov confirmed that the drills had begun, adding that Putin is not expected to make remarks afterwards.

Yesterday, Russia’s defense ministry said that “on February 19, 2022, under the leadership of the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Armed Forces, Vladimir Putin, planned exercises of the Strategic Containment Forces will be carried out.”

During the drills, “ballistic and cruise missiles will be launched,” the ministry added in a statement.

Units of the Russian air forces, the Southern Military District, the Strategic Missile Forces, and the Black Sea and Northern fleets participate in the exercises.

The exercises aim to test the readiness of the military command, the launch units and the crews of the missile carriers, and to verify the reliability of the strategic nuclear and conventional weapons, the ministry said.

Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko attended the ballistic missile exercises from a command center together with the Russian leader. EFE


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