Putin watches Russian nuclear drill since invasion of Ukraine

Vladimir Putin has overseen annual nuclear exercises by Russia’s strategic nuclear forces at a time of heightened tensions with the West over his eight-month-long war in Ukraine.

Ballistic and cruise missiles were launched in the Far East and Arctic, the Kremlin said.

The US was told about the drill under the terms of the New Start arms treaty.

The launches took place as Russia makes unsubstantiated claims that Ukraine is plotting to use a “dirty bomb”.

It is an explosive device mixed with radioactive material and the Russian allegations have been widely rejected by Western countries as false.

And Kyiv has warned that the claims indicate Moscow itself could be preparing such an attack.

Ahead of the exercise, military officials in Washington pointed out that in notifying the US the Russians were complying with arms control obligations.

Nato is also staging its own nuclear exercises, dubbed Steadfast Noon, in north-western Europe.