Written by Andrew Osborne
MoscowNovember 23 – Russia’s defense minister on Tuesday accused US bombers of practicing a nuclear strike against Russia from two different directions earlier this month and complained that the planes came within 20 km of the Russian border.
The accusation was brought when there was high tension between Washington and Moscow over Ukraine, with US officials raising concerns about a possible Russian attack on their neighbour, a suggestion the Kremlin rejects as false.
Moscow, in turn, accused the United States of OTAN and Ukraine from provocative and irresponsible behavior, through US arms supplies to Ukraine, the use of Turkish drones against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, and military exercises OTAN near its borders.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Moscow has seen a significant increase in the activity of US strategic bombers, which he said have made 30 flights near Russia this month. This is 2.5 times more than the same period last year, he said.
Shoigu complained in particular about what he claimed was a simulation of a US nuclear attack on Russia earlier this month.
“The defense minister stressed that during the US military exercises” Global Thunder “10 US strategic bombers tested firing nuclear weapons against Russia from the western and eastern directions,” Shoigu said in a statement issued by the Ministry of Defense.
Global Thunder, which this year piloted US nuclear-capable B-52 bombers, is the annual US Nuclear Command and Nuclear Exercise designed to test and demonstrate readiness for nuclear capabilities.
President Vladimir Putin apparently made a brief reference last week, complaining that Western strategic bombers were carrying “extremely dangerous weapons” near Russia, and that the West was taking Moscow’s warnings not to cross its “red lines” lightly.
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