Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military command to place its nuclear deterrent forces on high alert on Sunday, citing what he claimed was aggressive statements by NATO leaders and economic sanctions against Moscow.
“As you can see, not only do Western countries take unfriendly measures against our country in the economic dimension – I mean the illegal sanctions that everyone knows about very well – but also the top officials of leading NATO countries allow themselves to make aggressive statements with regards to our country,” Putin said.
Officials and leaders from various countries including Canada, the U.K., Ukraine and the European Union denounced the move by Putin, with Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand calling it “irresponsible.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba also said the move was to put pressure on Ukraine, noting the order by Putin came after reports that Russia and Ukraine had agreed to send delegations to negotiate.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the move a “distraction” from what was taking place in Ukraine.
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