The Pentagon staged a ‘mini-exercise’ in which it responded to Russia after it dropped a low-yield nuke on a European NATO member.
US Defense Secretary Mark Esper played himself in the drill at the US Strategic Command HQ in Nebraska on Thursday.
The drill featured the scenario of the United States nuking Russia in response to its own nuclear strike against a ‘NATO ally’.
Sputnik news reports: The drill followed a recent House Armed Services Committee hearing in which a senior Pentagon official said that the US needed a plan to be able to “fight and win” wars in a nuclear-contaminated environment.
Russian lawmakers have reacted to the Pentagon’s fantastical scenario involving Russia’s alleged plans to use low-yield nukes on the battlefield, calling the exercise outrageous and offering various ways that Moscow can respond.
Senator Sergei Tsekov called the drills’ organizers “sick people,” telling a Russian business news outlet that he was “very surprised, frankly, that they’re doing this, and talking about it openly. On the other hand, given the current situation and the current actions [by the US administration], why should we be surprised?” he added.
On Friday, a Pentagon official told reporters that Secretary of Defence Mark Esper had taken part in a drill to prepare for how the US would react to a limited Russian nuclear attack in Europe, saying the drill included “go[ing] through the conversation that you would have with the secretary of defence and then with the president ultimately to decide how to respond.”
Alexander Sherin, the deputy head of the Duma’s defence committee, suggested the US drill had two main goals.
“The first is to get people accustomed to such an incredible scenario for resolving a conflict as a nuclear exchange between Russia and the NATO bloc. The second goal is to try to intimidate Europe’s population to justify the continued presence of American bases in European countries ‘as guarantors of security and defenders’ in the event of Russian nuclear attack,” Sherin explained, speaking to Russia’s NSN radio station.
He pointed out, however, that according to Russia’s military doctrine, Moscow reserves the right to use nuclear weapons only in the event that conventional or other aggression puts the integrity of the state itself in danger. The lawmaker further stressed that it would be absurd for Russia to attack European countries with nuclear weapons because the fallout would affect Russia itself. Sherin believes that the main reason the US can so nonchalantly talk about the use of nuclear weapons in the first place is because unlike Europe, their country has never been subjected to a serious military strike in modern history.