The Russian railway train dubbed “nuclear” by the Western media just days ago because it appeared to be travelling towards Ukraine with nuclear weapons on board,  is actually part of a base under the control of the Russian Federation’s 12th Main Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, which is in charge of storing and moving nuclear weapons. A former senior NATO official has suggested the military hardware might have been on its way to nuclear force training exercises that usually take place in mid-October.

Pro-Russian Telegram channels had disseminated a video and photo on Sunday, Oct. 2 of “an ordinary railway train with military equipment going to the front by rail somewhere in Russia’s central strip”.

Attention was focused on the fact that the train is reportedly carrying Vystrel armoured vehicles with Spitsa combat modules, which come equipped with a 30-millimeter cannon and a fully automated grenade launcher.

According to independent military experts, Vystrel armoured vehicles with Spitsa systems have only been used in the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Defense’s 12th Main Directorate. As a result, Western media outlets drew the conclusion that the train was transporting nuclear weapons.

According to Radio Svoboda, multimillion-dollar embezzlement took place in this region for many years under the guise of a strict regime of secrecy, with “income” from these thefts being transferred abroad. Journalists learned that military unit 14118, which is close to the village of Abramovo, was the source of the train.  It belongs to the 12th Main Directorate of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, although it is not mentioned as a place for storing nuclear ammunition.

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William Alberk, a former head of NATO’s Center for Arms Control, Disarmament, and Non-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, speculated that the military hardware might have been en route to Russia’s annual GROM (Thunder) nuclear force training exercises, which typically take place in mid-October.

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According to Alberk, military unit 14118 is not close to any known nuclear weapon storage facilities. The 12th Main Directorate of the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Defense has a training and tactical centre to the south of the military unit; the unit’s railway branch is the nearest to it, and the training centre is located just a few kilometres away on a tarmac road. Some of the train’s equipment might, in theory, be still in place.

The Center for Combating Disinformation, a working body of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, says the Russian Federation is using information terrorism to pressure Ukraine into bargaining on its terms by spreading rumours in Western media about its preparations for a nuclear attack on Ukraine.

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