FirstFT: Russia announces nuclear exercises as fresh Ukraine talks planned

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Russia will start nuclear exercises to test its ballistic and cruise missiles on Saturday as western powers continued to warn that the Kremlin is contemplating an imminent invasion of Ukraine.

Russia’s defence ministry said on Friday that its air force, southern military district, strategic missile forces and northern and Black Sea fleets would take part in the drills.

“The strategic containment forces exercises were planned earlier to test the preparedness of military command organs, launch crews, crews on warships and strategic launch platforms to fulfil their allotted tasks, as well as the reliability of nuclear and non-nuclear strategic arms,” the ministry said, according to Interfax.

Though Russia said the drills were long planned, the US believes Russian president Vladimir Putin decided to hold them in February as a show of strength amid fears of a renewed invasion of Ukraine.

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1. Shari Redstone won the battle for her media empire Paramount. Now comes the streaming war The group is facing growing doubts over its ability to compete with larger digital rivals. Redstone has prevailed in the two-decade long saga over who runs the company, but the future of the $20bn business remains as unclear as ever.

Shari Redstone
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Thanks to those who voted in yesterday’s poll. Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said they would vote against Apple chief Tim Cook’s $99mn pay and bonus package.

Coronavirus digest

The day ahead

Munich Security Conference The two-day meeting will be attended by several western allies as well as Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukrainian president.

Vladimir Putin holds talks with Alexander Lukashenko The Belarusian president is expected to visit Moscow to meet his Russian counterpart. Lukashenko said on Thursday that Belarus would host “nuclear weapons” if threatened by the west. (Euronews)

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