Russia says nuclear readiness needed amid NATO activity near borders

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MOSCOW, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Russia’s nuclear capabilities and armed forces need to maintain combat readiness in light of the increased activity of NATO countries near Russia’s borders, Russian news agencies cited Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying on Wednesday.

Shoigu on Tuesday complained that U.S. bombers had rehearsed a nuclear strike on Russia from two different directions earlier this month and complained that the planes had come too close the Russian border, drills the Pentagon said had adhered to international protocols.

Russia has conducted military drills in the Black Sea involving around 10 aircraft and some ships, the Interfax news agency cited Russia’s Black Sea fleet as saying on Wednesday.

The drills come at a time of high tension over Ukraine, with U.S. officials voicing concerns about a possible Russian attack on its southern neighbour, a suggestion the Kremlin has dismissed as false.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based in Crimea, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Kyiv wants Russia to hand it back.

Photo – Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bombers fly above the Moscow Kremlin during the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia. EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

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