KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — In a dramatic escalation of East-West tensions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian nuclear forces put on high alert Sunday in response to what he called “aggressive statements” by leading NATO powers.
The order means Putin wants Russia’s nuclear weapons prepared for increased readiness to launch and raises the threat that Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine and the West’s response to it could boil over into nuclear warfare.
Amid the worrying development, the office of Ukraine’s president said a delegation would meet with Russian officials as Moscow’s troops drew closer to Kyiv.
Putin, in giving the nuclear alert directive, cited not only the alleged statements by NATO members but the hard-hitting financial sanctions imposed by the West against Russia, including the Russian leader himself.
Speaking at a meeting with his top officials, Putin told his defense minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a “special regime of combat duty.”
At about 8:00 AM eastern US Time on Sunday morning, the Russian Federation placed it’s Strategic Nuclear Forces, including Kinzhal and Zircon Hypersonic Missiles, into “Special Combat Mode.” This is the mode necessary before an actual LAUNCH Order can be given, and this is the mode at which the United States enters its DEFCON operations. We are now facing actual nuclear war.
Countries nuclear weapons are so tightly controlled, that a series of steps must be taken, and a series of conditions must be in-place, before those missiles can be launched. No one man can ever simply push a button, or turn a key and launch a nuclear weapon.
With the United States, our systems have additional safeguards called “permissive action links” integrated into all our launch systems. Even if two men in a nuclear silo, either conspired to launch a missile, or went insane together and tried to launch a missile, the missile simply would not launch because the Permissive Action Link (PAL) in the silo, did not get the launch permission from the main US Defense Department system, and that system must have gotten the actual order from the President before it sends permission to the PAL’s allowing a launch.
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