Russia launches nuclear-capable missiles, sails nuclear ballistic submarine in ‘thunder’ exercises


Russia completed several intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests on Wednesday capable of carrying nuclear warheads in a previously scheduled “Grom” exercises. 

Russian state-owned news outlet RIA confirmed that Russian forces fired nuclear-capable ICBM missiles from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, roughly 600 miles north of Moscow, along with a submarine-launched ballistic missile from the Barents Sea. 

Long-range air-launched cruise missiles were also reportedly fired Wednesday. 

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“The tasks envisaged during the training of the strategic deterrence forces have been completed in full, all missiles have reached their targets, confirming the specified characteristics,” the Kremlin reportedly said in a statement.

Russian President Vladimir Putin observed the “Grom” – meaning thunder – exercises from the Kremlin in Moscow.

Despite Western concerns over Putin’s increasingly threatening rhetoric on deploying nuclear weapons amid the war in Ukraine, defense officials said they were aware of the previously planned exercises.

The Department of Defense on Tuesday confirmed that Moscow had alerted it to regularly scheduled missile tests per U.N. charter, and therefore, did not violate any international treaties. 

“As we’ve highlighted before, this is a routine annual exercise by Russia,” Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters. “In this regard, Russia is complying with its arms control obligations, its transparency, commitments to notifications.”

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The brigadier general said the U.S. will continue “to keep an eye on” Russia’s nuclear testing exercises.

“But beyond that, I’m not going to have any further information at this time,” he added.

Russia escalated concerns surrounding the threat of nuclear use in Ukraine this week, when it claimed that Kyiv was preparing to use a “dirty bomb” – a crude devise that relies on conventional explosives like dynamite but is also paired with nuclear materials. 

Ukrainian and Westerns officials have rejected these claims as false and have warned Moscow could be using these allegations as a pretext to justify its own nuclear use in the war torn nation.

Ryder told reporters the U.S. has not “had any indication that Russia’s made a decision to employ those types of capabilities,” but said the rhetoric was “reckless.”

“We’ve seen Russian leaders use nuclear rhetoric, certainly that is concerning. It’s reckless, but it’s something we’ll continue to take seriously,” the brigadier general added. 

Russia on Wednesday completed several intercontinental ballistic missile tests capable of carrying nuclear warheads in a previously scheduled GROM exercise.

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