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Russia puts nuclear-armed military units on high alert

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s deterrence forces – military units in control of nuclear arms – on high alert.

Putin’s given justification for the move was both sanctions against Russia, and what he sees as aggressive statements from NATO.

“As you can see, not only do Western countries take unfriendly measures against our country in the economic dimension – I mean the illegal sanctions that everyone knows about very well – but also the top officials of leading NATO countries allow themselves to make aggressive statements with regards to our country,” Putin told Russian state media.

In response, the UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, has organised an emergency meeting this week.

The meeting’s agenda is “The safety, security and safeguards implications of the situation in Ukraine.”

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi urged all parties involved “to refrain from any measures or actions that could jeopardise the security of nuclear material, and the safe operation of all nuclear facilities.”

Early in the conflict, Russia seized the site of the Chernobyl nuclear facility, taking control of spent nuclear fuel and radioactive waste there.

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