There are now public reports that Russian strategic nuclear forces in their recent October 2017 exercise practiced launcing nuclear missiles on the US and other countries.
Real Clear Defense writes: “[…] An interesting aspect of this exercise is that, unlike previous exercises, it did not include the usual escalation scenario. Putin is presented as ordering the strategic nuclear missile launches but without any political context. Because of the types of missiles involved, the salvo launch, the emphasis on the coordination of ICBM and SLBM attacks, and the range of the missile flights, particularly those of the Pacific Fleet missiles, this exercise clearly was a simulated large-scale nuclear attack on the U.S. and its allies. It is always possible that there were unannounced parts of the exercise, but more likely it was a continuation of the September Zapad 2017 theater exercise, which apparently had all the missing nuclear escalation aspects of the typical Russian large strategic nuclear exercise. Zapad 2017 had an announced air defense component and announced live launches of Iskander-M and R-500 nuclear-capable missiles. Moreover, on the last day of the exercise, there was a Russian nuclear ICBM launch and reported nuclear bomber attacks and simulated nuclear SLBM launches. This could have been ‘de-escalation of a conflict’ by a limited nuclear strike which has been part of Russia’s military doctrine since the rise of Putin. An additional very interesting aspect of the October strategic nuclear exercise was the use of the Backfire bomber (Tu-22M3) and the launch of cruise missiles at ground targets in the ‘Terekta (Kazakhstan)’ target range […] .”