Putin lashes out at Biden for rehearsing nuclear strike against Moscow

Putin boasts Russia has ‘surpassed’ US in weapons systems

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Speaking on Tuesday, Putin’s defence minister Sergei Shoigu accused US bombers of rehearsing the strikes earlier this month, claiming that the planes had come within 12.4 miles (20km) of the Russian border. Putin hit out at the US, last week complaining of Western Strategic bombers carrying “very serious weapons” close to Russia.

He said the West was not taking Moscow’s warnings not to cross its “red lines” seriously enough.

However, the Pentagon said that the drills had adhered to international protocols and were announced publically at the time.

But Mr Shoigu said that Moscow had seen a significant increase in military activity by U.S. strategic bombers, claiming that they had carried out 30 flights close to Russia this month.

According to the defence minister, this figure is 2.5 times more than the same period last year.

Speaking about the “rehearsed” strike, Mr Shoigu said: “The defence minister underlined that during the U.S.military exercises ‘Global Thunder’, 10 American strategic bombers rehearsed launching nuclear weapons against Russia from the western and eastern directions.

“The minimum proximity to our state border was 20 km.”

He added that Russian air defence units had spotted and tracked the U.S. strategic bombers and taken unspecified measures to avoid any incidents.

Global Thunder is the US Strategic Command’s annual nuclear and command exercise designed to test and demonstrate the readiness of US nuclear capabilities.

But Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Anton Semelroth said: “These missions were announced publicly at the time, and closely planned with (Strategic Command), (European Command), allies and partners to ensure maximum training and integration opportunities as well as compliance with all national and international requirements and protocols.”

Mr Shoigu, speaking in a video conference with Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe, also claimed that the US military exercises were a threat to China, saying: “Against this backdrop, Russo-Chinese coordination is becoming a stabilising factor in world affairs.”

The meeting saw Russia and China agree to step up cooperation between their armed forces, the Russian defence ministry said.

Following the incident, Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley – senior Russian and US military officers – spoke by telephone on Tuesday.

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Neither side disclosed the contents of the conversation.

This comes amid escalating tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine, due to fears of a Russian invasion of the neighbouring country.

Russia has been accused of building up forces near the border, leading Ukraine to warn publically of an invasion.

US officials have voiced concerns about the possible invasion, but the Kremlin has dismissed the claims as false.

Meanwhile, Moscow has accused the United States, NATO and Ukraine of provocative and irresponsible behaviour, criticising U.S. arms supplies to Ukraine and Ukraine’s use of Turkish strike drones against Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

According to CNN, the Biden administration is considering sending military advisers and new equipment, including weaponry, to Ukraine.

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