A massive Russian convoy carrying nuclear equipment towards the Ukrainian frontline has ignited further fears that Vladimir Putin may test his country’s devastating firepower.
Footage of the freight train linked to Russia’s secretive nuclear division emerged on the pro-Moscow Telegram channel Rybar and captured it over central Russia towards Ukraine’s eastern warzone.
The convoy was shown carrying armoured personnel carriers and other equipment and is believed to be connected to the 12th main directorate of the ministry of defence.
Defence analyst Konrad Muzyka said the 12th main directorate was responsible for Russia’s nuclear munitions, storage, maintenance and issuance to units.
Muzyka said the armoured vehicles with turrets attached would be used “solely as protection” for the nuclear unit and said the release of the footage was likely a “form of signalling to the west that Moscow is escalating”.
The disturbing footage comes amid reports Russia will test it its nuclear torpedo drone the Poseidon which has been dubbed the “weapon of the apocalypse”.
The massive torpedo is currently attached to the submarine K-329 Belgorod and is believed to be heading towards the Artic where, according to La Repubblica newspaper, it will be tested.
NATO alerted members and allies of President Putin’s intention to launch the Poseidon over the weekend, according to the London Times.
The Pentagon responded to the reports on Monday and said the US military had plans for a “wide range of situations and contingencies”.
But when questioned on footage showing the nuclear freight train heading towards Ukraine, a senior military official said: “We’ve seen nothing at this stage that would compel us to change our posture”.
Putin’s nuclear threats have grown in recent weeks with the President issuing a chilling warning to NATO and its allies not to further infringe on what he claimed as Russian territory following the illegal annexation of four Ukrainian regions.
“Our country has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have,” Putin said in a fiery speech in late September.
“In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff.”