Russian politicians are furious over a "mini-exercise" last week in which the Pentagon simulated a "low-yield limited nuclear weapon against a site on NATO territory" near Russia that was met with a "limited" nuclear response, Newsweek reported.
The Russians accused the United States of reckless fearmongering, according to The Moscow Times, suggesting the move was an attempt to normalize nuclear war.
Alexander Sherin of the State Duma's defense committee told state-run RIA Novosti news agency the U.S. goal was to "get the population used to such an inconceivable conflict resolution scenario as a Russian-NATO nuclear strike."
"The second goal is to intimidate Europe's population and justify the presence of American bases on their territory as guarantors of security," he said.
Alexey Chepa, deputy of the State Duma, called the drill "a good PR campaign." He told RIA Novosti it was part of President Donald Trump's effort to pressure allies to spend more on the military.
Sergei Tsekov of the Federal Council's foreign affairs committee accused U.S. military officials of acting like "sick people."
Newsweek noted, experts warn against use of low-yield nuclear weapons, as they increase the chances of Mutually Assured Destruction. The Pentagon deployed at least one low-yield nuclear warhead on a submarine earlier this month.
The Trump administration has increased efforts to modernize the United States' nuclear stockpile to catch up to Russia. Trump also has withdrawn from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
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