Putin signals the possibility of escalation; orders his nuclear forces on high alert

21 April, 2022 | Riya Girdhar

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Putin has hinted at intensification by ordering Russia's strategic nuclear capabilities to be placed on high alert just days after his troops entered Ukraine. He also cautioned that any engagement ...

Russia announced the successful test of a new intercontinental ballistic missile, which President Vladimir Putin claimed would give the US and its allies pause.
It almost certainly raises the stakes nearly two months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and it comes at a critical juncture in the conflict as Russia’s soldiers ramp up their onslaught in the eastern Donbas region.

On national television, Russian President Vladimir Putin was seen studying a video of the missile launch and stated, ‚Äúthis unique weapon will strengthen the military potential of our armed forces, will reliably guarantee Russia’s security against outside threats and force those, who in the heat of frenzied aggressive rhetoric try to threaten our country, to think again.”
According to the Defense Ministry, the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Arkhangelsk. In 2018, the ministry released videos of the latest-generation missile. According to US Defense Department spokesperson John Kirby, normal notification protocols were followed prior to the test.

Arms deliveries from the United States and Europe have aided Ukraine in thwarting Russia’s offensive, which has shifted its emphasis to the east following failed attempts to conquer Kyiv’s capital. At the same time, NATO has ruled out imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine since it would place NATO jets in direct conflict with Russian planes. It has also stated that it will not send troops into the conflict.

In an interview broadcast Tuesday, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did not directly respond to repeated queries about whether Russia may deploy nuclear weapons in Ukraine, though he did state that Moscow is opposed to nuclear conflict.