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Russia mobilizes 200,000, releases nuclear war training


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Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that it had already enlisted 200,000 of the 300,000 reservists it intends to use in the Ukrainian War in a contested mobilization and has gone on to ostensibly disclose that they are being trained to fight in a war environment. nuclear, chemical or biological.

“The personnel of the units formed [desde 21 de setembro] is being trained in 80 camps and six centres,” Minister Sergei Choigu told an event in Moscow. There, figures were given on the destruction of Ukrainian equipment, but not a word was said about Kiev’s counteroffensives in the east and south of country invaded in February.

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The loss of occupied areas in Kharkiv (northeast), of a Russian bastion in Donetsk (east) and the breakdown of defenses at a point in Kherson (south) have worried the hardliners of the Vladimir Putin government, who began to publicly criticize the conduct. of the war and suggest the use of less powerful tactical nuclear weapons to stop Kiev.

Militarily, it doesn’t seem to make much sense, but it’s a card the Kremlin has been using frequently since the conflict began. By decreeing the annexation of four Ukrainian areas over which he does not have full control, Putin upped the ante, saying they would be defended with “all possible means”—and that includes the world’s largest atomic arsenal.

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In fact, since Sunday (2) the Ministry of Defense has been posting on its Telegram channel images and reports of training of recruits, including how to deal with terrain contaminated by nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. It is routine, of course, especially in a country with the capabilities that Russia has, but the visibility of the topic is not accidental.

Germany, Russia’s historic rival who became its energy partner in the years leading up to the war, said on Tuesday that Putin’s nuclear threats could be for real. “This is not the first time he has resorted to such threats, which are irresponsible and we must take them seriously,” said Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock.

“But this is also a way of blackmailing us,” he added, naming what is on the table. Baerbock knows that the European population, particularly the German population, anticipate a difficult winter without Russian gas to heat homes and move industry, and that the fear of a nuclear conflict is still present in generations that lived through the Cold War.

In the Kremlin’s calculation, obviously assumed, the threat could discourage European support, already much less cohesive and voluminous than the American one, for Kiev. This Tuesday, Joe Biden announced to Zelenski in a phone call a new aid package of US$ 625 million, including Himars launchers.

The Pentagon, for its part, leaked to reporters the assessment that nothing indicates that Putin is about to mobilize his nuclear forces. This is possible due to the monitoring of movements in bases by satellites and the information gathered by spies.

But the use of a tactical weapon brings complications, such as the fact that some are very small, easily transportable. Meanwhile, speculation around the topic only increases, giving the Kremlin a victory.

On Monday (3), for example, the British newspaper The Times published a report saying that the Russians would be sending nuclear material to their western border. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said on Tuesday he would not comment because he did not want “to be a part of the Western exercise in nuclear rhetoric”.

There is speculation about a detonation of intimidation over the Black Sea, perhaps even attacking Cobra Island, a strategic rock that the Russians occupied and lost. The problem is that the site is very close to Romania and it seems inevitable that the radiation would reach a member of NATO (western military alliance), triggering a response.

Likewise, the use of a tactical weapon against Ukrainian forces requires the use of several warheads to have an effect, which would increase the risk of contamination from Russia itself. For soldiers, there is personal protection training and decontamination of armored vehicles and trucks afterwards, but nothing to do with a radioactive cloud.

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I have worked as a journalist for over 8 years. I have written for many different news outlets, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN. I have also published my own book on the history of the world. I am currently a freelance writer and editor, and I am always looking for new opportunities to write and edit interesting content.

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