Putin Orders Stronger Russian Border Security

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link in Moscow, Russia May 26, 2023. (Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters)
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link in Moscow, Russia May 26, 2023. (Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters)
TT

Putin Orders Stronger Russian Border Security

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link in Moscow, Russia May 26, 2023. (Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters)
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with members of the Security Council via a video link in Moscow, Russia May 26, 2023. (Sputnik/Kremlin via Reuters)

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday ordered stronger border security to ensure "fast" Russian military and civilian movement into Ukrainian regions now under Moscow control.

 

Speaking in a congratulatory message to the border service, a branch of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), on their Border Guard Day holiday, Putin said their task was to "reliably cover" the lines in the vicinity of the combat zone.

 

Attacks inside Russia have been growing in intensity in recent weeks, chiefly with drone strikes on regions along the border but increasingly also deep into the country, including on an oil pipeline northwest of Moscow on Saturday.

 

"It is necessary to ensure the fast movement of both military and civilian vehicles and cargo, including food, humanitarian aid building materials sent to the new subjects of the (Russian) Federation," Putin said in a message posted on the Kremlin's Telegram messaging channel.

 

Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk and Donetsk are the four regions in Ukraine that Putin proclaimed annexed last September following what Kyiv said were sham referendums. Russian forces only partly control the four regions.

 

On Saturday, officials said three people were injured in Ukrainian shelling in Belgorod, a region that was the target of pro-Ukrainian fighters this week that sparked doubts about Russia's defense and military capabilities.

 

The Kursk and Belgorod Russian regions bordering Ukraine have been the most frequent target of attacks that have damaged power, rail and military infrastructure, with local officials blaming Ukraine.

 

Kyiv almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia and on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine, but said that destroying infrastructure is preparation for its planned ground assault.

 

Ukraine indicated on Saturday that it was ready to launch a long-promised counteroffensive to recapture territory taken by Russia in the 15-month long war, a conflict that has claimed the lives of thousands and turned Ukrainian cities into rubble.



NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
TT

NATO Chief Says the Alliance Is Adapting Its Nuclear Arsenal to Security Threats

 NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)
NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg gives a press conference on the eve of a NATO Defense ministers meeting at the organization's headquarters in Brussels on June 12, 2024. (AFP)

In a rare reference to the Western nuclear arsenal, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday highlighted the alliance's efforts to adapt its capabilities to current security threats, taking note of Russia latest nuclear rhetoric and drills.

Talking to reporters before a two-day NATO defense ministers' meeting in Brussels that will include a gathering of the alliance's nuclear planning group, he called nuclear weapons NATO's "ultimate security guarantee" and a means to preserve peace.

While it is well known that the US has deployed nuclear bombs to several locations in Europe, NATO rarely talks about these weapons publicly.

Discussing what he called "the ongoing adaptation" of NATO's nuclear arsenal, Stoltenberg said the Netherlands in June declared the first F-35 fighter jets ready to carry nuclear arms and said the US was modernizing its nuclear weapons in Europe.

He described increasing Russian activity around its nuclear capabilities. "What we have seen over the last years and months is a dangerous nuclear rhetoric from the Russian side.... We also see some more exercises, nuclear exercises on the Russian side," he said.

On Tuesday, Russia said its troops had started the second stage of drills to practice the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons alongside Belarusian troops after what Moscow said were threats from Western powers.

Since sending thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said Moscow could use nuclear weapons to defend itself in extreme situations.

Russia accuses the US and its European allies of pushing the world to the brink of nuclear confrontation by giving Ukraine billions of dollars worth of weapons, some of which are being used against Russian territory.

Stoltenberg also referred also to the modernization of China's nuclear weapons, saying Beijing was expected to boost the number of nuclear missiles within a few years and many of them would be able to reach NATO territory.