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Nuclear alert makes Ukraine worst standoff since Cuban missile crisis

Vladimir Putin appears to embrace risky 'escalate to de-escalate' planning

Russian troops train with a mobile ICBM launcher.   © TASS/Kyodo

TOKYO -- By ordering Russia's nuclear forces into high alert on Sunday, President Vladimir Putin has sent a stark warning to the U.S. and Europe that all options are on the table when it comes to Ukraine.

Putin appears to have grown frustrated by Russia's unexpected setbacks in invading Ukraine. On Monday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said nuclear forces were now on enhanced combat alert, in line with Putin's order the day before.

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