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President Vladimir Putin has overseen a military exercise involving Russia's nuclear forces amid escalating tensions over Ukraine.
Putin said the exercise had been planned back in November. He was speaking Thursday in televised remarks from the Defense Ministry's headquarters where he oversaw the exercise along with leaders of several ex-Soviet nations which are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
He said that the maneuvers involved the military across the entire Russian territory, including the nation's nuclear forces.
Putin was quoted as saying by Russian news wires that the exercises simulated dealing a massive retaliatory nuclear strike in response to an enemy attack - an unusually blunt statement that reflected tensions with the West running high over Ukraine.