Is Russia preparing to conduct nuclear tests?

Picture: Deutsche Welle, Sergei Fadeichev/dpa/TASS/picture alliance

A nuclear test over Siberia would be “a nuclear ultimatum” to the West that would have no serious consequences for Russia’s own population — according to Margarita Simonyan. The editor-in-chief of RT, Russia’s state-controlled international broadcaster, made the claim in a video early October. There, she declared that “nothing too terrible” would happen if Russia detonated a thermonuclear bomb on its own territory, and that Western countries would not back down “until they are in great pain.” According to Simonyan, the West has nothing better to do than continue using Ukraine to “strangle” Russia.

The media executive is one of the best-known faces of Russian propaganda. She often appears on the evening TV talk show hosted by her colleague Vladimir Solovyov, and is known for her diatribes against Ukraine and the West, especially the USA. But her assertion that Russia could detonate a nuclear bomb in its own backyard seems to have gone a step too far. Not only did it upset the viewers, it also caused a stir in the Kremlin. Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov commented that Simonyan’s words “do not always reflect the official position,” and that he did not see the sense in this discussion.


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