Russia's nuclear forces are holding drills in the Ivanovo province, northeast of Moscow, the Interfax news agency cited the Russian defence ministry as saying on Wednesday.
Some 1,000 servicemen are exercising in intense manoeuvres using over 100 vehicles including Yars intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, it cited the ministry as saying.
It comes as the Biden administration is expected to announce it will send Ukraine a small number of high-tech, medium-range rocket systems, a critical weapon that Ukrainian leaders have been begging for as they struggle to stall Russian progress in the Donbas region, US officials said Tuesday.
The US plan tries to strike a balance between the desire to help Ukraine battle ferocious Russian artillery barrages while not providing arms that could allow Ukraine to hit targets deep inside Russia and trigger an escalation in the war. President Joe Biden said Monday that the US would not send Ukraine "rocket systems that can strike into Russia.”
Any weapons system can shoot into Russia if it's close enough to the border. The aid package expected to be unveiled Wednesday would send what the US considers medium-range rockets — they generally can travel about 45 miles (70 kilometers), said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss aid not yet made public.
The expectation is that Ukraine could use the rockets in the eastern Donbas region, where they could both intercept Russian artillery and take out Russian positions in towns where fighting is intense, such as Sievierodonetsk.
Sievierodonetsk is important to Russian efforts to capture the Donbas before more Western arms arrive to bolster Ukraine’s defense. The city, which is 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of the Russian border, is in an area that is the last pocket under Ukrainian government control in the Luhansk region of the Donbas.
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