Kremlin dismisses UK media report on Russian nuclear test


FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a conference of heads of security and intelligence agencies of the Commonwealth of Independent States member countries via a video link in Moscow, Russia, September 29, 2022. Sputnik/Gavriil Grigorov/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - The Kremlin said on Tuesday that it did not want to take part in "nuclear rhetoric" spread by the West after a media report that Russia was preparing to demonstrate its willingness to use nuclear weapons in its conflict with Ukraine.

The Times newspaper reported on Monday that the NATO military alliance had warned members that President Vladimir Putin was set to demonstrate his willingness to use nuclear weapons by carrying out a nuclear test on Ukraine's border.

The London-based newspaper also said Russia had moved a train thought to be linked to a unit of the defence ministry that was responsible for nuclear munitions.

When asked about the Times report, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia did not want to take part in what he cast as Western exercises in "nuclear rhetoric".

"The Western media, Western politicians and heads of state are engaging in a lot of exercises in nuclear rhetoric right now," Peskov said. "We do not want to take part in this."

Putin on Sept. 21 ordered Russia's first mobilisation of military reservists since World War Two to put more troops on the battlefield and backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine, warning the West he was not bluffing when he said he'd be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.

Russia is the world's biggest nuclear power based on the number of nuclear warheads: it has 5,977 warheads while the United States has 5,428, according to the Federation of American Scientists.

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Frank Jack Daniel)

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