Ukraine crisis: Russia carries out massive nuclear war exercise involving 10,000 troops

Drill was designed to ensure Russian missile forces are prepared in the event of a simultaneous international launch of nuclear misiles

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The Independent Online

Russia on Saturday ended a massive three-day nuclear war exercise involving 10,000 soldiers, as the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War continues.

The drill, which utilised over 30 military units and 1000 pieces of equipment, was to ensure that Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces are prepared to conduct offensive operations in the event of a massive and simultaneous international use of nuclear weapons.

News of the exercise was carried by Russian daily newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, which cites senior military officers.

The report says Russia’s Strategic Missile Command emphasized that the event was scheduled last year and has nothing to do with the Ukraine crisis.

It was nevertheless, according to Nezavisimaya Gazeta the largest such exercise carried out in recent times.

Nato is increasingly concerned over Moscow’s intentions following the ousting of Russian backed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Vladimir Putin 'wants to regain Finland'

Currently up to 40,000 Russian troops continue to be stationed on the Russian-Ukraine border and Andrej Illarionov, Vladimir Putin’s former chief economic adviser, has said the Russian President wishes to “conquer” Belarus, the Baltic States and Finland.

US secretary of state John Kerry is set to meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Paris today, in an attempt by both sides to ease tensions.