Joint military exercises of Russia and Belarus in the Mogilev region

Amid tensions with Ukraine, Russia plans to test its nuclear weapons apparatus

Amid its tensest standoff with the West since the Cold War, Russia plans to give its nuclear weapons apparatus a practice run this weekend.

The multiple practice launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles and cruise missiles set for Saturday follow a warning from U.S. President Joe Biden that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.

NATO says Russian President Vladimir Putin has failed to keep his promises of withdrawing some of an estimated 150,000 troops assembled around Ukraine’s borders, dashing hopes for an imminent de-escalation of the crisis. The Kremlin insists it has no plans to invade.

The United States and other alliance members are keeping up the diplomatic pressure to deter a possible invasion of Ukraine. Biden is due to discuss Russia and Ukraine with trans-Atlantic leaders in a Friday phone call.

Vice President Kamala Harris is also taking a front seat. She is attending the annual Munich Security Conference this weekend in Germany, where she aims to cement the unity of Washington’s European allies.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will also be there – but Russian officials won’t.