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Russia has set out to build facilities in the Pacific Ocean to enable the deployment of Poseidon nuclear-capable “super torpedoes” on submarines by early 2024, Russian state media has reported. The Poseidon is a torpedo-drone combination designed for use on the Belgorod and Khabarovsk nuclear submarines.
The construction of these submarines’ coastal infrastructure facilities is anticipated to be completed in Kamchatka by early next year, according to TASS.
Moscow is believed to have created a new division within the Russian Pacific Fleet’s Submarine Forces to help with “strategic deterrence” duties, which will include these two submarines and possibly others.
According to an unnamed defence source: “Work on the construction of coastal infrastructure facilities for basing two special submarines in Kamchatka is planned to be completed early next year.”
It comes as Ukraine’s government on Sunday called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to “counter the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail” after Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed plans to station tactical atomic weapons in Belarus.
One Ukrainian official said Russia “took Belarus as a nuclear hostage.”
Further heightening tensions, an explosion deep inside Russia wounded three people Sunday.
Russian authorities blamed a Ukrainian drone for the blast, which damaged residential buildings in a town just 175 kilometres (110 miles) south of Moscow.
Russia has said the plan to station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus comes in response to the West’s increasing military support for Ukraine.
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Putin announced the plan in a TV interview that aired Saturday, saying it was triggered by a UK decision this past week to provide Ukraine with armour-piercing rounds containing depleted uranium.
Putin argued that by deploying its tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, Russia was following the lead of the United States. He noted that Washington has nuclear weapons based in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
He said: “We are doing what they have been doing for decades, stationing them in certain allied countries, preparing the launch platforms and training their crews.”
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry condemned the move in a statement Sunday and demanded an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council.
“Ukraine expects effective action to counter the Kremlin’s nuclear blackmail by the UK, China, the US and France,” the statement read, saying these countries “have a special responsibility” regarding nuclear aggression.
“The world must be united against someone who endangers the future of human civilization,” the statement said.
Ukraine has not commented on Sunday’s explosion inside Russia. It left a crater about 15 meters (50 feet) in diameter and five meters deep (16 feet), according to media reports.
Russian state-run news agency Tass reported authorities identified the drone as a Ukrainian Tu-141. The Soviet-era drone was reintroduced in Ukraine in 2014, and has a range of about 1,000 kilometres (620 miles).
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