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Putin puts Russian ‘nuclear’ deterrence forces on alert

Russian RS-24 Yars intercontinental ballistic missile systems are seen on the Red Square for the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2019. FILE PHOTO Xinhua

Moscow, Russia | Xinhua |  Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the country’s deterrence forces to be placed on “a special mode of combat duty” in a Sunday meeting with top defense officials.

Senior officials of leading NATO members issued “aggressive statements” against Russia, Putin said at a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces Valery Gerasimov.

Putin said Western countries are imposing “illegitimate sanctions” against Russia’s economy.

The decision to put the deterrence forces on combat duty was made as Russia has been conducting “a special military operation” in Ukraine since early Thursday.

Russian forces had destroyed 975 Ukrainian military infrastructure objects, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Sunday morning.

Russia has blockaded several cities in eastern and southern Ukraine.

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