Russian nuclear forces hold drills on Putin's order
KONFRONTASI - Russia’s strategic nuclear forces have staged major military drills in the country’s territorial waters, practicing a wide range of nuclear attack and defense scenarios under President Vladimir Putin’s direct order.
"The exercise of the Strategic Nuclear Forces was held on October 11, 2018 on order from Russian President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Vladimir Putin," the Russian Defense Ministry announced in a statement on Thursday.
The war games saw Russian submarines operating from bases in the Barents and Okhotsk Seas live-fire submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to test the force’s ability to act in times of conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sits aboard a helicopter on his way to the Rassvet agricultural company outside Stavropol on October 9, 2018. (Photo by AFP)
Russia’s long-range aircraft also took part in the drills, firing a range of missiles and munitions, including nuclear-capable cruise missiles.
"Ballistic missiles were live-fired from submarines, along with the launches of airborne cruise and aircraft missiles from the Barents and Okhotsk Seas, including by long-range aircraft, which took off from the Engels, Ukrainka and Shaikovka airfields," the ministry said in the statement.
According to the statement, Russia’s ballistic missile early warning system detected all of the SLBM launches from submarines and successfully transmitted the data to command posts.
The exercise came on the heels of the “Vostok-2018” (East-2018) war games between September 12 and 17, which saw some 300,000 troops, thousands of vehicles, fighter jets, and warships test their readiness for battle.
The exercise, described by Russia’s Defense Ministry as the country’s largest drills since the end of the Cold War, also incorporated contingents from China and Mongolia.
The NATO military alliance has condemned Russia’s recent drills as rehearsal for “large-scale conflict.”
This is while the US-led pact has often held military maneuvers near Russia’s western borders, amassing advanced military hardware and specialized forces in the Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The alliance is currently in preparation for a joint exercise with Georgia in March 2019.
Russia said Wednesday that it would spare no efforts to safeguard its borders.
"We will be appropriately responding to that massive exercise, as it is being held near our borders," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told state-owned TASS news agency.[ptv]