London: Footage of a huge freight train moving specialist military equipment associated with a nuclear-arms wielding division of Russia’s Defence Ministry has been spotted on the move, prompting fears of an escalation in the conflict from President Vladimir Putin’s forces, the media reported.
A series of BPM-97 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and other military vehicles were seen travelling through central Russia in a clip posted on the Telegram messaging app by pro-Russian channel Rybar on Sunday, Daily Mail reported.
The APCs are thought to have been upgraded with more capable turrets, reinforced ambush and mine-proof armour and an air purification system designed to allow its occupants to operate effectively in the face of sustained infantry attacks.
Such advanced military hardware, the likes of which have scarcely been deployed on the frontlines in Ukraine, reportedly belong to the 12th Main Directorate of the Russian MoD.
This specialist division is dedicated to the storage, maintenance and provision of weapons to the likes of the Strategic Rocket Forces, a Russian military branch that controls nuclear missiles and forms a key part of Putin’s nuclear programme, Daily Mail reported.
Military analyst Konrad Musyka claimed the deployment of such units could signal a coming escalation in the conflict from the warmongering Russian president or constitute a precursor to large scale nuclear drills.
It comes as NATO warned member states that Russia’s state-of-the-art Belgorod nuclear submarine has left its White Sea base, while key Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov said Russia’s military should use ‘low-yield nuclear weapons’ to turn the tide of the war in Ukraine, Daily Mail reported.
Muzyka said the movement of heavy military hardware belonging to nuke-wielding units does not necessarily mean that Russia is preparing to deploy a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.
But he did suggest it could be a ‘signal to the West that Moscow is escalating’ the conflict, adding that Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces (RVSN) are known to undergo extensive training drills in autumn.
The RVSN is a branch of Russia’s armed forces that constitutes a cornerstone of the nation’s nuclear defence and deterrence programme, which is the largest and most advanced in the world, Daily Mail reported.
It is made up of dozens of missile regiments who together control thousands of nuclear capable weapons, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) and are responsible for the maintenance and protection of their launch centres.