Russian nuclear deterrent forces on alert amid tensions with the West over Ukraine

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Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his military command to put nuclear-armed forces on high alert as Ukrainian fighters defending the city of Kharkiv said they had repelled an attack by invading Russian troops.

The order means Putin wants Russia’s nuclear weapons prepared for increased readiness to launch.

Putin said the directive was in response to what he called “aggressive statements” by leading NATO powers and financial sanctions imposed by the West.

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