Russia’s entire Pacific Fleet is on high alert for practice missile launches


Russia’s entire Pacific Fleet was placed on high alert on Friday for rapid drills that will include firing missiles in a massive show of force amid tensions with the West over the fighting Ukraine.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the aim of the war games is to test the Russian armed forces’ ability to respond to aggression.

In addition to the missile launches, the drills will include nuclear-capable strategic bombers and other warplanes alongside Pacific Fleet naval aviation, Shoigu said.

The Russian military has concentrated the bulk of its forces on the front lines in Ukraine, but continues to hold regular drills across Russia to train its forces and demonstrate their readiness.

The Russian Defense Ministry released videos showing warships and submarines sailing out to take part in the maneuvers. As part of the exercises, naval units deployed on amphibious landing ships and coastal defense missile systems moved into firing positions.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described the war games as part of regular training to “maintain the necessary level of operational readiness of the armed forces”.

Russia fires supersonic anti-ship missile at decoy in Sea of ​​Japan
A still from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry shows a Russian Pacific Fleet missile ship firing a Moskit cruise missile at a mock enemy sea target in the waters of the Sea of ​​Japan, the report said March 28, 2023 Video.

Russian Defense Ministry/Handout via REUTERS

Shoigu noted that the maneuver scenario provides for a response to an enemy’s attempt to land on Sakhalin Island and the southern Kuril Islands. In February, Moscow said a Russian submarine destroyer chased by a US submarine near the Kuril Islands.

Japan asserts territorial rights to the Kuril Islands, which it designates as the Northern Territories. The Soviet Union took them with them in the closing days of World War II, and the dispute has kept the countries from signing a peace treaty formally ending their hostilities.

Last year Russia announced that it had suspended peace talks with Japan to protest Tokyo’s sanctions on Moscow over its actions in Ukraine.

Russia has expanded its military presence on the islands in recent years, stationing modern warplanes, anti-ship missiles and air defense systems there.

The Pacific Fleet drills began days ahead of a planned trip to Moscow by Chinese Defense Minister General Li Shangfu. The Russian Defense Ministry said Shoigu and Li would discuss “prospects of bilateral defense cooperation and pressing global and regional security issues.”

A three day Visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Moscow Last month demonstrated the two nations’ partnership in the face of Western efforts to isolate Russia over Ukraine and gave Russian President Vladimir Putin a political boost.

Xi’s visit came amid concerns China could be preparing to provide deadly weapons to Russia for its war in Ukraine, which China denies. It also comes days after Putin accused of war crimesincluding orchestrating the forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russian territory by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court.

Both Moscow and Beijing have accused Washington of trying to isolate them and stall their development while challenging the US for regional and global leadership.

Putin and Xi said they would step up contacts between their militaries and hold more joint sea and air patrols and drills, but there was no indication China would help Russia with arms, as the US and other Western allies feared.

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