Vladimir Putin's own defence minister 'concerned' by Russian leader's nuclear decision

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Vladimir Putin's own defence minister 'concerned' by Russian leader's nuclear decision

President Vladimir Putin put Russia's nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday in the face of a wave of western sanctions over the Kremlin's invas

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President Vladimir Putin put Russia’s nuclear deterrent on high alert on Sunday in the face of a wave of western sanctions over the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. Coverage of Mr Putin’s escalation noted the decision appeared to concern some within the Kremlin’s military top brass.   

Sky News reporter Diana Magnay said: “Last Saturday, Vladimir Putin held nuclear drills for all the world to see.

“This Sunday he put them on high alert.”

Announcing the nuclear alert President Putin declared: “Dear colleagues, you can see that Western countries are not only taking on unfriendly economic actions against our country, I mean the illegal sanctions that everyone knows about.

“But also the top officials of leading NATO countries are allowing themselves to make aggressive statements with regards to our country.

READ MORE ON OUR RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR LIVE BLOG

“That’s why I’m ordering the Defence Minister and the Chief of General Staff to put deterrence forces on high combat alert.”

Ms Magnay added: “Even his defence minister looks concerned.”

Military analyst Micheal Kofman told Sky News: “Alerting could mean an increase in general force readiness, it could mean forces from Russia’s 12th GUMO which are in charge of our nuclear arsenal, pulling nuclear warheads out of central storage, bringing them to places where means of delivery are stored.

“Things like strategic bombers, part of our Russia’s long-range aviation, it could mean a higher alert level of our strategic bomber force.

Britain’s defence ministry said on Monday that Russia’s advance on Kyiv has been slowed by logistical failures and fierce Ukrainian resistance, 

“The bulk of [President Vladimir] Putin’s ground forces remain more than 30km to the north of Kyiv their advance having been slowed by Ukrainian forces defending Hostomel airfield, a key Russian objective for day one of the conflict,” the ministry said.

“Logistical failures and staunch Ukrainian resistance continue to frustrate the Russian advance.”

Heavy fighting continues around Chernihiv, a city in northern Ukraine, and the northeastern city of Kharkiv, the defence ministry said in an intelligence update posted on Twitter. Both cities remain under Ukrainian control, it said.



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