Russia has notified the United States of “routine” nuclear exercises amid international fears that it could use nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine, the US State Department said Tuesday.
In doing so, Russia fulfilled its commitments under existing defence agreements that require it to notify the United States of any intercontinental or submarine-launched ballistic missile test, the source said.
State Department Spokesman Ned Price said the exercise was a routine annual one by the Russians. “These notifications ensure that we are not surprised and reduce the risk of misinterpretation," he explained.
Exchanges between the defence ministers of the two countries have become rare, but in the past week they had two conversations, Price added.
US President Joe Biden warned on Tuesday that Russia’s use of a nuclear weapon would be a “serious mistake.”
Moscow has claimed that Ukraine is preparing a “dirty bomb,” a claim denied by Kyiv and Western countries. Moscow first raised the accusations on Sunday in telephone conversations between Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and his US, French, British and Turkish counterparts, referring to “possible provocations by Ukraine with the use of a ‘dirty bomb'”.
The US diplomatic spokesman reiterated on Tuesday that the United States had no information that Russia was preparing to use a nuclear weapon. But he noted that it was a concern because Russia has a habit of accusing others of what it is preparing itself.