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Despite his cancer battle, Putin does not retreat; Russia tests a nuclear missile!

Russia announced on Wednesday that its soldiers have practised nuclear-capable missile strikes in the western enclave of Kaliningrad, as part of Moscow’s military assault in Ukraine. The declaration came on the 70th day of Moscow’s military intervention in the pro-Western country, which has resulted in thousands of deaths and over 13 million displaced people in Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II. Following the deployment of soldiers to Ukraine in late February, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued veiled warnings implying a willingness to use Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons.

Russia practised simulated ‘electronic launches’ of nuclear-capable Iskander mobile ballistic missile systems during Wednesday’s war drills in the Baltic Sea enclave located between EU members Poland and Lithuania, the defence ministry said. According to the statement, Russian soldiers practised single and multiple strikes on targets such as missile launchers, airfields, fortified infrastructure, military equipment, and simulated enemy command centres.

Following the ‘electronic’ launches, the military forces performed a manoeuvre to alter their position in order to prevent a ‘potential retaliation strike,’ according to the defence ministry. The fighting forces also practised ‘activities under situations of radiation and chemical pollution’. More than 100 military personnel participated in the training. Russia placed its nuclear forces on high alert immediately after Putin dispatched soldiers to Ukraine on February 24. If the West intervenes directly in the Ukraine crisis, the Kremlin boss has warned of a ‘lightning-fast’ response.

According to an unproven allegation in the New York Post, Russian President Vladimir Putin may have cancer surgery while temporarily turning over control to the secretary of the country’s Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev.  ‘Putin has been advised by physicians that he must have surgery, citing a Telegram channel apparently maintained by a retired Russian Foreign Intelligence Service lieutenant general’, according to news agency ANI.

Putin is likely to be incapacitated for ‘a short period’ as a result of the planned operation and rehabilitation, according to the article. Referring to Putin’s allegedly ‘sickly look and uncommonly fidgety behaviour in public’ in recent times, the New York Post story claimed that the Russian President is suffering from cancer and a slew of other serious ailments, including Parkinson’s disease.

‘Putin is unlikely to agree to hand up authority for an extended amount of time,’ the Telegram channel said, adding that control of the country will likely be in Patrushev’s hands for no more than two to three days, according to the New York Post.  Russia’s Security Council, of which Patruchev is secretary, is an influential body that answers directly to Putin and issues guidance on military and security issues within Russia. The majority of the council’s power is vested in Patrushev, who is widely regarded as a staunch Putin ally. Patrushev, like Putin, is a career Russian intelligence agent, first with the Soviet KGB and subsequently with the Russian FSB.

In a rare interview with the state-run Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta last week, Patrushev accused America and Europe of supporting neo-Nazi ideas in Ukraine and attempting to prolong the fight ‘until the last Ukrainian’.  The Americans, using their minions in Kyiv, intended to establish ‘an antipode of our nation, cynically picking Ukraine for this, trying to separate essentially a single people,’ he added. Concerns have been raised about the Russian President’s health in recent weeks, particularly when he was spotted forcefully grasping a desk during a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu last month.

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