On Sunday, President Vladimir Putin put Russia's nuclear deterrent forces on high alert in the face of a wave of Western sanctions over the Kremlin's invasion of Ukraine. In coverage of Putin's escalation, it was noted that the decision seemed to worry some in the Kremlin's top military leadership, the online edition of Express wrote.
Sky News reporter Diane Magnay said: "Last Saturday, Vladimir Putin held a nuclear exercise that the whole world saw. This Sunday he put them on high alert."
Announcing the nuclear alert, President Putin said: "Dear colleagues, you see that Western countries are taking not only unfriendly economic actions against our country, I mean illegal sanctions that everyone knows about.
But the top officials of the leading NATO countries also allow themselves to make aggressive statements against our country.
That is why I am ordering the Minister of Defense and the Chief of General Staff to put the deterrence forces on high alert."
Ms. Magnay added: "Even his defense secretary looks concerned."
Military analyst Michel Coffman told Sky News, "Putting on alert could mean increasing the overall readiness of the force, it could mean that the 12th GUMO Russian forces, which are responsible for our nuclear arsenal, are pulling nuclear warheads out of central storage facilities, getting them to places where delivery vehicles are stored.
Things like strategic bombers, part of Russia's long-range aviation, it could mean increasing the level of readiness of our strategic bombers."
It could mean more strategic ballistic missile submarines going to sea or more strategic bomber patrols."
British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace did not rule out the possibility of a nuclear attack by Putin and was asked on Sky News if the Russian leader was "crazy enough" to launch a nuclear conflict.
Mr. Wallace told Sky News, "I think he's done a lot of irrational things lately."
He added: "I think I'm not going to speculate about what he would or wouldn't do, but that's why all of us in the West keep our deterrents on standby."