Russian President Vladimir Putin showed up at a funeral with a suspected nuclear briefcase amid assassination fears, according to media reports.
Services were held at a Moscow cathedral Friday for Russian ultranationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who died this week at the age of 75 from a long illness. Putin, dressed in black, laid a bouquet of red roses near the coffin and bowed his head for a moment of silence.
He was accompanied by a man believed to be a military officer carrying the briefcase, which reportedly contains the launch apparatus for the Kremlin’s strategic missiles.
According to Merca, Putin carries the nuclear briefcase everywhere. The case has a personalized key code and is under 24/7 supervision.
The report comes almost two months after Putin announced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine where he stated that anyone who “tries to stand in our way” will face consequences “such as you have never seen in your history.”
He also ordered Russian nuclear forces put on high alert, citing “aggressive statements” by NATO and tough financial sanctions.
“Western countries aren’t only taking unfriendly actions against our country in the economic sphere, but top officials from leading NATO members made aggressive statements regarding our country,” Putin said in televised comments.
The practical meaning of Putin’s order was not immediately clear. Russia and the United States typically have land- and submarine-based nuclear forces that are on alert and prepared for combat at all times, but nuclear-capable bombers and other aircraft are not.
If Putin is arming or otherwise raising the nuclear combat readiness of his bombers, or if he is ordering more ballistic missile submarines to sea, then the U.S. might feel compelled to respond in kind, said Hans Kristensen, a nuclear analyst at the Federation of American Scientists.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Solange Reyner is a writer and editor for Newsmax. She has more than 15 years in the journalism industry reporting and covering news, sports and politics.
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