Feb 19, 2022 - World

Putin tests Russia's nuclear forces

ussian President Vladimir Putin gives the instruction to start the comprehensive drill involving strategic forces.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gives the instruction to start the comprehensive drill involving strategic forces with Belarussian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko from Kremlin, in Moscow, Russia on February 19, 2022. Photo: Kremlin Press Service/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday presided over large-scale drills involving nuclear forces as part of what were called nuclear deterrence exercises, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: Russia's military conducted drills that included launching three missiles that are part of its nuclear arsenal, one day after President Biden said that he is "convinced" that Putin has made the decision to invade Ukraine.

State of play: Pro-Russian separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine on Saturday also called for all men in the territory they control to register to fight, per the Times.

  • The military mobilization comes one day after the leaders of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People's Republics ordered the mass evacuation of women, children and elderly civilians to Russia, alleging that Ukraine was preparing a military offensive.
  • Ukraine immediately denied the accusations and the U.S. dismissed the allegations as "further attempts to obscure through lies and disinformation."

Go deeper: Civilians evacuated from eastern Ukraine as pro-Russia separatists warn of war

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