Putin puts Russia’s nuclear forces on high alert as fighting in Ukraine continues

CBS NEWS:

In a dramatic escalation of East-West tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear deterrent forces put on high alert Sunday in response to what he called “aggressive statements” by leading NATO powers.

The move means Putin has ordered Russia’s nuclear weapons prepared for increased readiness to launch, raising the threat that the tensions could boil over into a nuclear war. In giving it, the Russian leader also cited hard-hitting financial sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, including Putin himself.

Amid the worrying development, the office of Ukraine’s president said a delegation would meet with Russian officials as Moscow’s troops drew closer to Kyiv.

Putin, in giving the nuclear alert directive, cited not only the alleged statements by NATO members but the hard-hitting financial sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, including the Russian leader himself.

Speaking at a meeting with his top officials, Putin told his defense minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a “special regime of combat duty.”

“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country,” Putin said in televised comments.

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