28 February 2016, 06:30 GMT
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Thursday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un ordered the military to prepare to use its nuclear weapons at any moment in light of the exercise, according to the country’s state media reports.
Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, two joint US-South Korean military exercises on dispatching the US overseas forces to the Korean Peninsula, presuppose practicing the elimination of Pyongyang's weapons of mass destruction.
As many as 15,000 US troops joined around 290,000 South Korean soldiers in the drills expected to last until April 30. In 2015, Washington sent four times fewer troops than now, while the number of Seoul soldiers is now 1.5 times higher.
During the drills, the United States and South Korea are likely to apply their new operational plan, namely OPLAN 5015, which envisages possible preventive strikes against North Korea.
The US side is expected to deploy a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and submarines.