Vladimir Putin has watched military forces carry out nuclear exercises in Russia.

The Russian president oversaw the tests, which had been planned for some time, via video link from an office.

During the exercises, the country’s nuclear forces carried out multiple practice launches of ballistic and cruise missiles.

Defence minister Sergei Shoigu said Mr Putin had overseen the training, which he said was being held to practice delivering a “huge nuclear strike in response to an enemy nuclear strike”.

It comes amid growing fears that Moscow may trigger a major escalation in the war in Ukraine as tensions continue to grow.

The manoeuvres followed Mr Putin’s warning about his readiness to use “all means available” to fend off attacks on Russia’s territory, in a clear reference to the country’s nuclear arsenals.

The drills saw the test-firing of a Yars land-based intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the launch of a Sineva ICBM by a Russian nuclear submarine and the Tu-95 strategic bombers set off cruise missiles at practice targets.

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Military exercises involving land, sea and air components of the Russian nuclear triad have taken place on an annual basis to train the country’s nuclear forces and demonstrate their readiness.

The US said it was notified that Russia was planning to stage the routine drill and the country had complied with the terms of the last arms control agreement.