Russia's 'simulated' nuclear missile strikes & Il-80 Doomsday plane
During the war games in the enclave on the Baltic Sea, Russia practised simulated "electronic launches" of nuclear-capable Iskander mobile ballistic missile systems.
Nuclear-capable missile strikes
As Russia on Saturday held its final rehearsal for an annual parade marking the Soviet victory in World War II, where its military might will be showcased amid Moscow's campaign in Ukraine, the authorities said said its forces had practised simulated nuclear-capable missile strikes in the western enclave of Kaliningrad, amid Moscow's military campaign in Ukraine.
To mark the 77th anniversary since victory in what Russia calls the Great Patriotic War, thousands of soldiers will march across the Red Square in Moscow followed by tanks, armoured vehicles and missile launchers.
However, it is the sudden announcement of the "simulated attacks" which caught eveyrone's attention. Since sending troops into Ukraine on February 24, Russia has said it is carrying out a "special military operation".
Nuclear war games in Baltic Sea
During the war games in the enclave on the Baltic Sea located between EU members Poland and Lithuania, Russia practised simulated "electronic launches" of nuclear-capable Iskander mobile ballistic missile systems.
The Russian forces also practised single and multiple strikes at targets imitating launchers of missile systems, airfields, protected infrastructure, military equipment and command posts of a mock enemy.
'Conditions of radiation and chemical contamination'
After performing the "electronic" launches, the military personnel carried out a manoeuvre to change their position in order to avoid "a possible retaliatory strike.
The combat units also reportedly practised "actions in conditions of radiation and chemical contamination". The drills involved more than 100 servicemen.
Il-80 Doomsday plane
Russian forces had faced fierce resistence by Ukranian forces in the opening weeks of the war as Putin forces later declared they would be focussing on eatern Ukraine.
Russia is now set to showcase its military might during the May 9 celebrations including the rarely-seen Il-80 Doomsday plane that is capable of withstanding a nuclear attack.
The Il-80 is designed to become the roaming command centre for the Russian president. It is packed with technology but specific details are Russian state secrets.
Eight Mig-29 fighter jets will fly over Red Square forming the letter Z -- a symbol of Russia's military campaign in Ukraine.
Russia's nuclear targets
President Putin had put is nuclear forces on alert just days after announcing the special military operation. The Kremlin warned of a "lightning fast" retaliation if the West directly intervenes in the Ukraine conflict.
According reports, the Russian forces also practiced single and multiple strikes at targets imitating missile systems, airfields, defended infrastructure, military equipment and command posts.
Russia prepares to showcase Yars intercontinental nuclear missiles
On the ground on May 9, Russia will be displaying its nuclear-capable hardware, including the Yars intercontinental nuclear missiles and Iskander short-range ballistic missile systems.
Also on May 9, parades take place on a smaller scale in dozens of cities across the nation as well as the so-called "Immortal Regiment" march, which involves people carrying photos of veterans or family members who died in the war.
This year, participants of the processions are also encouraged to bring photos of those who died fighting in Ukraine.
Reports claim President Vladimir Putin will send a "doomsday" warning to the West when he leads celebrations on Monday marking the 77th anniversary of the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany, brandishing Russia's vast firepower while its forces fight on in Ukraine.
Defiant in the face of deep Western isolation since he ordered the invasion of Russia's neighbour, Putin will speak on Red Square before a parade of troops, tanks, rockets and intercontinental ballistic missiles.
A fly-past over St Basil's Cathedral will include supersonic fighters, Tu-160 strategic bombers. Less than two decades ago, US President George W. Bush had joined Putin for the May 9 celebrations in Moscow. This year however no Western leader was invited, the Kremlin said.
'Potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons'
Amid Russia's renewed push in eastern Europe, the United States and its allies have ramped up supplies of weapons to Ukraine. Reports say Putin has faced calls from some in the Russian military to unleash greater firepower on Ukraine.
Russia had earlier told the West that its arms supplies were a legitimate targets. Russia's foreign ministry had asserted that its forces will not use nuclear weapons in Ukraine.
CIA director William Burns had said last month that given the setbacks Russia had suffered in Ukraine, "none of us can take lightly the threat posed by a potential resort to tactical nuclear weapons or low-yield nuclear weapons."