THE US is set to bring forward the delivery of high-accuracy tactical nukes to Europe amid escalating tensions with Russia.
Shortly after the deranged tyrant unleashed a barrage of missiles, the US Navy and Army scrambled to launch a rocket to run hypersonic weapon experiments.
And amid the signs they are preparing for the worst they have also taken the decision to send dozens of weapons to key Nato bases “within weeks” – a move markedly ahead of schedule.
Among the armoury is the new B61-12 thermonuclear bombs which has previously been described as the most dangerous nuclear device ever produced.
According to experts, its yield can be adjusted between the equivalent of 50,000 tons and 300 tons of TNT.
It has also been hailed as the most accurate ever developed.
The Pentagon currently has around 100 nukes stored in bases in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Turkey.
Authorities in the states are set to bolster its arsenal in those NATO countries by upgrading the air-dropped bombs to a newer version sooner than planned, reports Politico.
It is understood US officials told NATO allies in a private meeting in Brussels that the upgrades will be arriving in December.
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The weapons will be kept for potential use by bomber and fighter jets owned by the US and its allies.
According to the Pentagon, the newer version will ensure the stockpile is more modern and safer.
Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told the outlet the upgrade has been “underway for years” to “responsibly swap out older weapons”.
However, he insisted that it was “in no way linked to current events in Ukraine and was not sped up in any way”.
Backing these claims, Lloyd Austin, the US defence secretary, suggested the US had no reason to make a show of force to the east.
He said: “I don’t think this [the cancellation] sends any message to Putin. He understands what our capability is.”
Mr Austin added: “We are certainly concerned about escalation, we have been so from the very beginning of this conflict. It would be the first time that a nuclear weapon has been used in over 70 years.”
It comes after Putin rehearsed wiping Britain and the US off the map in chilling World War 3 drills, according to Colonel Igor Korotchenko, editor-in-chief of Russia’s National Defence magazine.
He said the UK would be “swallowed up” by the Atlantic Ocean, while in place of the US would be a “sea strait named after Comrade Stalin”.
He said: “The tests were practicing a massive nuclear missile strike in response to a first nuclear attack against Russia.
“Who could launch a first nuclear strike on Russia? The US and the UK.”
Video released by the Russian-military run Zvezda website of Wednesday’s drills showed armed forces personnel in front of computers launching a Yars ballistic missile.
Other footage showed a Sineva intercontinental ballistic missile being fired from a submarine in the Barents Sea and a TU-95 bomber that launched cruise missiles.
The Kremlin said that all tasks set for the exercise were fulfilled and all the missiles that were test-fired reached their designated targets.
Putin observed the annual exercise remotely as Russia rehearsed its response to a nuclear attack.
US official, meanwhile, warned of “troubling developments” involving Russia’s nuclear arsenal.
Today the tyrant claimed the West is “fuelling” the Ukraine war & “destabilising markets” in a raft of false claims made in a TV speech.
During an annual speech at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, Mr Putin said: “They are fuelling the war in Ukraine, escalating provocations around Taiwan, destabilising the world food and energy markets.”
“As far as the last one is concerned, it was not deliberate, we don’t doubt that, it was due to systemic errors.”
Zelensky said Ukrainian troops have been, and still are holding out against repeated attacks within the eastern Donbas region.