Russian President Vladimir Putin Puts Nuclear Deterrent Forces 'On Alert' Amid Tensions With West Over Ukraine Invasion
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Russian president Vladimir Putin has put his nuclear deterrent forces 'on alert' amid rising tensions with the West over the invasion of Ukraine.
It comes after the 69-year-old declared war on its neighbouring country last week, sending thousands of troops over the border.
Speaking at a meeting with his top officials, Putin asserted that leading Nato powers had made "aggressive statements" along with the West imposing hard-hitting financial sanctions against Russia, including the president himself.
Putin ordered the Russian defence minister and the chief of the military’s General Staff to put the nuclear deterrent forces in a "special regime of combat duty".
Currently, Ukraine forces are attempting to hold off Russian tanks moving in on the capital Kyiv and air assaults raining down on towns and cities across the country.
Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has stayed in the city to help defend it against the incoming forces.
He even refused to be evacuated by the United States, saying that he wouldn't desert his people.
Zelenskyy was urged to leave the capital by the US government, but turned down the offer – with the unnamed official quoting the president as saying: “The fight is here; I need ammunition, not a ride."
Yesterday morning (26 February), Zelenskyy posted a video filmed in selfie mode as he walked around the streets of Kyiv, denying ‘fake’ claims that he had called for a surrender.
As translated by the BBC, he said: “Lately there has been a lot of fake information online that I call on our army to lay down arms and to evacuate.
"Listen. I am here. We will not lay down our weapons. We will defend our state, because our weapon is our truth.
"And the truth is that this is our land, our country, our children. And we will defend all of that.
"That’s all that I wanted to tell you. Glory to Ukraine."
The Ukrainian president has been widely praised on social media for his response to Russia’s invasion and has vowed not to leave, even though he knows he is a target for Russian forces.
In a video message on Friday (25 February), he said: "[The] enemy has marked me down as the number one target,
"My family is the number two target. They want to destroy Ukraine politically by destroying the head of state.
"I will stay in the capital. My family is also in Ukraine."