A convoy transporting equipment for Russia's nuclear weapons program has been discovered, raising concerns that Vladimir Putin may be conducting a nuclear test to send a "signal to the West."
On the weekend, a train operated by the secretive nuclear division and connected to the 12th major directorate of the Russian ministry of defense was spotted traversing central Russia its route to Ukraine.
The footage was provided by the pro-Russian Telegram group Rybar, which showed the freight convoy transporting updated armored personnel carriers (APCs) and other equipment.
Konrad Muzyka, a defense analyst from Poland who specializes in Ukraine, stated, "This equipment belongs to the 12th main directorate of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
The Directorate is responsible for the storage, maintenance, transport, and distribution of nuclear bombs.
Mr. Muzyka noted that it could be a "signal to the West that Moscow is escalating," referring to Putin's Friday nuclear-war warning. However, he emphasized that the footage did not depict "nuclear release preparations."
Nato has conveyed intelligence to member states and allies alerting them that Russia is anticipated to test Poseidon, a nuclear-capable torpedo drone called the "weapon of the apocalypse," probably in the Black Sea, sources told The Times. It is due to be tested in the Kara Sea, north of Russia's mainland, according to La Repubblica.
After a series of humiliating battlefield failures that resulted in the fall of a key city in Donetsk and setbacks in the Kherson region, the maneuvers may reflect Putin's increased determination to escalate the war.
According to Pentagon sources, the United States is contemplating responses to a variety of scenarios, including the use of tactical nuclear weapons by Russia.
Putin stated on Friday, during a ceremony when he declared the annexation of four Ukrainian regions, that Russia will employ "all available means" to defend the territories. Russia also dismissed a key general yesterday as its soldiers withdrew from two fronts in response to Ukrainian advances.
According to RBC, Colonel General Alexander Zhuravlyov was replaced by Lieutenant General Roman Berdnikov as commander of the Western Military District.
It follows considerable criticism following the collapse of Russian soldiers in the Kharkiv region and the weekend loss of the strategically significant Donetsk town of Lyman. A Ukrainian soldier who had returned from the Kharkiv region stated that the Russians appeared to be "running" and had not attempted to establish defensive lines, or had failed to do so.
With the withdrawals, Russian forces abandoned portions of the Kherson and Donetsk areas, which Putin on Friday declared to be part of Russia.
Several settlements were liberated by a Ukrainian attack along the western bank of the Dnieper River, which prompted Russian war bloggers to anticipate a collapse on the Kherson front. In the meantime, Ukrainian soldiers in the country's northeast advanced several miles as the Russians failed to construct a defensive line after Lyman's fall.
Despite the battlefield loss, Russian lawmakers yesterday unanimously adopted Putin's decree annexing the Kherson, Zaporizhia, Luhansk, and Donetsk regions. However, the Kremlin stated that it had not yet determined how much land it would annex. Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, stated that the areas of Luhansk and Donetsk will join Russia in their entirety, but that the borders of the new Kherson and Zaporizhia territories had not yet been determined.