Russia recently held its biggest civil defense drills since the collapse of the U.S.S.R., with what officials said were 40 million people rehearsing a response to chemical and nuclear threats.
Videos of emergency workers deployed in hazmat suits or checking the ventilation in bomb shelters were prominently aired on television when the four days of drills were held across the country. Students tried on gas masks and placed dummies on stretchers in school auditoriums.
The capital’s civil-defense plans are also being upgraded, said Andrey Mishchenko, deputy head of the ministry.
Mishchenko reportedly told state-run news outlet RIA Novosti that an inventory of Moscow’s underground spaces was conducted “in order to allow us to plan for sheltering 100 percent of the city’s population.”
Igor Zuyev, who owns a Russian company that builds bomb shelters for companies and private parties, told the Journal that requests for shelters protecting against nuclear bombs and military invasion began increasing following Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014, when “the situation started to heat up.” Zuyev said that such requests have tripled over the last year.
US secretary of defence Ash Carter aid the Pentagon was reviewing its “nuclear playbook” – investing in improving the country’s atomic arsenal to ensure against “terrible attacks” by Moscow.