Russia's been conducting country-wide nuclear drills, the Wall Street Journal reports. The largest of the exercises, practicing civilian evacuation and sheltering procedures, involved 40 million people, and some bomb shelters are even getting upgrades. But does Russia actually expect to start a nuclear war with the US? Commentators are largely dismissive, saying the exercises are nothing more than posturing from Russian president Vladimir Putin. Posturing or not, it's beginning to look a lot like a new Cold War, the Journal notes, with US and Russian forces engaged in a proxy war in Syria and Russian nuclear missiles moving into striking range of European capitals.
Meanwhile, ABC News reports that Russian state television has been busy stirring up anti-American sentiment and warning the populace to prepare for all eventualities. One recent Russian news report stated: "If it should one day happen, every one of you should know where the nearest bomb shelter is. It’s best to find out now." The main trigger point at the moment appears to be the conflict in Syria, where Russia is providing significant military aid to the forces of embattled dictator Bashar al-Assad, whom the US fiercely opposes. So far, the US and Russia have avoided direct military engagement in Syria.