Ukraine Prepares for Nuclear Strike by Russia
Ukraine held exercises on Tuesday to prepare for a nuclear strike, as fears about the use of atomic weapons by Russian President Vladimir Putin continue to grow.
Ruslan Zaparaniuk, head of the military administration in Ukraine's western Chernivtsi region, announced on his Telegram channel that drills were held "to eliminate the consequences of a nuclear strike."
The official noted that representatives of Ukraine's State Emergency Service took part in organizing the training exercises.
According to Zaparaniuk, the drills were simulated while taking "regional characteristics" into consideration.
Ukrainian news outlet RBC Ukraina cited the region's military administration as saying that the drills included running through ways to ensure effective communication of all emergency services, and action plans for evacuations, should officials be in danger.
Officials also discussed the use personal protective equipment among the population, as well as special emergency rescue vehicles and equipment.
It comes days after Putin oversaw his military carrying out nuclear exercises in Russia, which included practice launches of ballistic and cruise missiles.
The Russian leader has warned about his readiness to use "all means available" to fend off attacks on Russia's territory.
U.S. President Joe Biden has said Putin is "not joking" about threats to escalate the Russia-Ukraine war by using nuclear weapons.
"He is not joking when he talks about potential use of tactical nuclear weapons or biological and chemical weapons, because his military is, you might say, significantly underperforming," Biden said during a Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee fundraiser in New York City on October 6. "I don't think there's any such thing as the ability to easily use tactical nuclear weapons and not end up with Armageddon."
Experts at the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a U.S. defense and foreign affairs think tank, assessed this week that the Kremlin started this month to tone down its rhetoric about the use of nuclear weapons.
"The Kremlin's rhetorical shift indicates that senior Russian military commanders and elements of the Kremlin are likely to some extent aware of the massive costs for little operational gain Russia would incur for the use of nuclear weapons against Ukraine or NATO," the ISW said.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in statement on November 2 that Russia "is strictly and consistently guided by the postulate of the inadmissibility of a nuclear war in which there can be no winners and which must never be unleashed."
White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said that Washington and Moscow have held talks aimed at lowering the rhetoric around Russia's potential use of nuclear weapons.
Newsweek has contacted Russia's foreign ministry for comment.