F-16 fighter jet
© AFP / Kenzo TRIBOUILLARDA Belgian F-16 fighter jet takes part in a NATO nuclear drill.
The US-led bloc poses a military threat to the country, the head of the border guard service has warned

NATO nations are preparing for possible nuclear strikes on Russia, a senior Moscow general has warned.

Vladimir Kulishov, the first deputy director of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), and head of the country's Border Guard Service, outlined threats that his branch has to deal with in an interview with RIA Novosti.
"NATO intelligence operations close to the Russian border are on the rise. Forces of the alliance are intensifying military training, in which they work out military scenarios against the Russian Federation, including nuclear strikes on our territory," he told the news agency on Tuesday.
Russian officials have previously criticized NATO's nuclear sharing scheme, under which some American weapons are stored in non-nuclear nations, including Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Türkiye.

Moscow is particularly concerned that non-host nations are involved in training exercises on how to deploy the weapons. In January 2022, weeks before the Ukraine conflict escalated into open hostilities, Vladimir Ermakov, the head of the non-proliferation department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said in an interview that Moscow views the US-led military bloc's moves as being directly targeted against the country.

Russia has blamed NATO's expansion in Europe and its increasing presence in Ukraine for the ongoing crisis, which it considers part of a US-led proxy war against it. The military support which Washington and its allies have provided to Kiev may result in an unchecked escalation and a direct war with Russia, which is likely to result in a nuclear exchange, officials in Moscow have warned.

President Vladimir Putin ordered a drill earlier this month to test Russia's ability to use non-strategic nuclear weapons. The move was described as a reaction to hostile statements by the West.

Nations that donate longer-range weapons to Kiev are currently considering lifting restrictions on their use against targets located in what they recognize as Russian territory. British Foreign Secretary David Cameron has claimed that Kiev "has the right" to deliver such strikes with arms it gets from the UK.

The Russian exercise is being conducted jointly with Belarus. Moscow decided last year to store a part of its arsenal on Belarusian territory, saying it was necessary to counterbalance NATO's scheme amid rising tensions.