President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian nuclear deterrent forces put on high alert amid tensions with the West over his invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a meeting with his top officials, Putin asserted on Sunday that leading NATO powers had made “aggressive statements” along with the West imposing hard-hitting financial sanctions against Russia, including the president himself.
Putin 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.”
His order raised the threat that the tensions with the West over the invasion in Ukraine could lead to the use of nuclear weapons.
The Russian leader this week threatened to retaliate harshly against any nations that intervened directly in the conflict in Ukraine.