Vladimir Putin orders nuclear missile test launches in Russian 'war games'

President Vladimir Putin ordered the launch of nuclear missiles in a major war games exercise to show off Russia’s deadly arsenal of weapons.

The sweeping exercises involved all three legs of the Russian nuclear triad with nuclear missiles deployed from submarines, land and strategic aircraft, the country’s defense ministry said.

Images showed a launch on the Barents Sea by the Delta IV class submarine Karelia (K-18).

The ministry’s TV Zevzda also highlighted an intercontinental missile launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the Arkhangelsk region.

Several long-range cruise missiles were also fired from both Tu-160 and Tu-95 strategic bombers from the English and Ukrainka airfields.

Cruise missiles have reportedly hit targets at Pemboy training ground in Komi Republic.

Ballistic missiles from Plesetsk and the Barents Sea hit targets at the Kura training ground in Kamchatka, on Russia’s Pacific coast.

According to the Russian news agency TASS, the launches continued under the leadership of Putin.

“Training to lead strategic offensive forces was conducted under the supervision of the commander in chief,” the ministry said.

“The training goals have been fully met.”

The war games come less than two months before the new START arms control treaty between the US and Russia expires in early February.

Vladimir Putin orders nuclear missile test launches in Russian 'war games'

Moscow and Washington have talked about extending the pact, but differences still remain.

The new START was signed in 2010 by then US President Barack Obama and then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

It limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and is considering extensive on-site inspections to verify compliance.

Vladimir Putin orders nuclear missile test launches in Russian 'war games'

This is because design engineer Yulia Kalach, 22, has become the 30,000th employee at a large shipbuilding company in the White Sea tasked with modernizing Russia’s nuclear fleet.

Sevmash is the only Russian shipyard capable of building nuclear-powered submarines.

Its expansion is linked to a major modernization of the country’s underwater fleet, with many new ships to be produced over the next decade.

The company’s workforce has grown by more than 3,000 in less than ten years.

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