Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s military to put its deterrence forces, which include nuclear weapons, on “particular alert.” In the wake of widespread condemnation of his invasion of Ukraine, he informed defense commanders it was because of “aggressive comments” by the West. Russia’s declaration does not imply that the weapons will be used.
His move was instantly denounced by the US as an “unacceptable escalation.” Mr. Putin threatened last week that “anyone who tries to obstruct us” in Ukraine will face “consequences you have never seen before in your history.” Those statements were generally misunderstood as a threat to deploy nuclear weapons if the West obstructed him.
Putin Ordered to be ready for stringer combat duty
On Sunday, he issued a stronger threat, ordering the Russian defense minister and the chief of the military’s general staff to place the nuclear deterrent forces on a “special combat duty regime.” Following Mr. Putin’s announcement, the EU unleashed a barrage of new sanctions and steps against Russia, including:
- Finance for Ukraine’s arms procurement
- The use of EU airspace by Russian planes is completely prohibited.
- Sputnik and Russia Today have been banned from entering EU territory.
These penalties are in addition to previous sanctions imposed by Western countries, such as asset freezes on large institutions and affluent individuals, including Russian President. Mr. Putin’s nuclear deterrence order, according to the US ambassador to the United Nations, demonstrated that he was escalating the Ukraine crisis in an intolerable way. The White House said that Russia had never been threatened by Nato, while Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called Mr. Putin’s remarks “dangerous rhetoric.”