The Kremlin said upcoming nuclear weapons drills announced earlier Monday by Russia were a response to "unprecedented" comments, including by French President Emmanuel Macron, on sending troops to Ukraine.

"It's obvious we are talking about statements from Mr. Macron and statements from British representatives," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said when asked by reporters what had prompted the drills, adding: "This is a completely new round of escalating tensions. It is unprecedented and requires special measures."