Russian nuclear triad begins standby alert duty
Following "aggressive statements" from NATO in relation to Russia's military operation in Ukraine, the Russian President ordered the country's nuclear deterrent forces to be placed on high alert on Sunday.
Russia's nuclear deterrent forces on the ground, in the air, and on submarines are on standby alert duty with additional troops deployed, according to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu.
According to the Ministry of Defense, Shoigu "reported to Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin that, in accordance with his order, the duty shifts of the command posts of the Strategic Missile Troops, the Northern and Pacific Fleets, and Long-Range Aviation Command have begun to carry out combat duty with reinforced personnel."
Putin requested that the forces be put on "special combat duty mode" on Sunday, after divulging that officials of leading NATO nations had indulged in "making aggressive statements about our country," in addition to the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US, Europe, and other Western allies.
The Russian President did not specify which officials he was referring to but prior to his statement, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss asserted in an interview with Sky News that the crisis might "end up in a conflict with NATO" unless Russia's current military campaign in Ukraine to demilitarize the nation is "stopped."
Truss has been criticized for her remarks about the Ukrainian crisis including her unintentional refusal to recognize Moscow's sovereignty over the internationally recognized Russian regions of Rostov and Voronezh during talks with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, and her pledge of support for "our Baltic allies across the Black Sea," despite the fact that the two maritime regions are separated by more than 1,200 kilometers of land.
Some Britons have expressed displeasure that Truss, with her limited knowledge on the subject, has the authority to make any statements on behalf of the UK.
Moscow's ministry of foreign affairs informed the international community the operation in Ukraine was not the beginning of a war, but rather an attempt at curbing one after the west bombarded the situation with condemnations.
5 km column of Russian troops moving towards Kiev
Ukraine's State Service of Special Communications and Information Protection said that blasts were heard in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev and in the major city of Kharkiv on Monday morning.
The Ukrainian capital had been quiet for a few hours prior, according to a brief statement posted on the Telegram messaging app.
In satellite imagery taken on Sunday, a 5-kilometer column of Russian troops and tanks could be seen "moving towards Kiev."