Russia has put its nuclear forces on high combat alert, the country’s defence ministry confirmed on February 28.
Reports said that the Russian ground units, equipped with intercontinental ballistic missiles as well as vessels from the Northern and Pacific Fleets, have been placed on high combat alert.
The Russian Navy includes submarines armed with nuclear missiles, RT reported.
The ministry said the move was made in accordance with the order issued by president Vladimir Putin on February 27, RT reported.
Putin cited “illegitimate sanctions” against Russia and “aggressive statements” by Western officials, without elaborating.
Many countries, including the US, the UK and EU member states, have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in response to its military operation in Ukraine.
Earlier, Putin had placed the country’s nuclear deterrent forces on “special” alert on February 27, RT reported.
The move was announced during Putin’s meeting with Russian defence minister Sergey Shoigu and chief of staff Valery Gerasimov.
“Western countries are not only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic area. I’m speaking about the illegitimate sanctions that everyone is well aware of. However, the top officials of the leading NATO countries also make aggressive statements against our country as well,” Putin stated.
The move comes in response to ‘hostile’ rhetoric by top NATO officials, Putin said, RT reported.