By Orowo Victoria Ojieh with agency report
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered that Russia’s nuclear deterrent forces are put on high alert.
The president said aggressive statements by NATO leaders and unlawful economic sanctions against Moscow were behind the decision.
Speaking on state television on Sunday, he said: “As you can see, not only do Western countries take unfriendly measures against our country in the economic dimension, illegitimate sanctions that everyone knows
“But also the highest-ranking officials of leading NATO members are allowing themselves to make aggressive statements in relation to our country.
“For this reason I order the minister of defence and the chief of general staff to put deterrent forces on special combat duty.”
The order came at a meeting between the president, the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, and the chief of the general staff of the armed forces of Russia, Valery Gerasimov.
Putin has warned foreign countries not to interfere in his invasion of Ukraine, saying it could lead to “consequences they have never seen”.
International tensions are already rising over Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, and Putin’s order will cause further fear.
Russia is one of the world’s largest depot of nuclear weapons and a huge store of ballistic missiles.