Long-range ballistic, cruise missiles launched
Russia’s armed forces conducted a “massive” nuclear forces exercise on Thursday simulating NATO and U.S. nuclear attacks and involving several long-range ballistic and cruise missile firings.
The exercises were monitored by Russian President Vladimir Putin and coincided with May 9 anniversary celebrations marking the victory in World War II.
“We are checking the preparedness of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, we are holding an exercise,” Putin was quoted as saying, noting that the exercises were planned in November and involved all branches and services throughout the country, including nuclear forces.
Former Pentagon official Mark Schneider said the exercises are unusual and appear aimed the West.
“This type of exercise is normally held in the fall not the spring. Holding it now suggests to me that the intent was nuclear intimidation against NATO over the Ukraine,” he said.
The latest nuclear saber-rattling by Moscow followed the April 14 test launch of a new ICBM, the SS-27 with multiple simulated warheads that potentially violated the 2010 New START arms treaty.
For Thursday’s drills, an SS-25 road-mobile intercontinental missile, and two multiple-warhead SS-N-23 submarine-launched ballistic missiles were flight-tested.
State-controlled Russian news outlets described the drills as a “massive launch-on-warning missile strike and countering a nuclear attack by the means of the Moscow missile defense system.”
A Russian Tu-95 strategic nuclear bomber conducted a salvo firing of six air-launched cruise missiles as part of the drills. And the Russians also carried out a test of missile defense interceptor against an incoming target. Short-range Iskander missiles and multiple-rocket launcher systems also took part.
Missile and artillery forces in the southern and central military districts also took part.
A Russian official said the main goal of the war games was “coordinating actions of various units in countering a large-scale missile- and air-attack.”
The SS-25 was launched from the Plesetsk test site about 500 miles north of Moscow to the Kura test site in Kamchatka some 3,500 miles away.
The SS-N-23 was fired from a Delta IV missile submarine from the Barents Sea to Kamchatka.
A second submarine, also a Delta III, fired a second SSN-N-23 from the Sea of Okhotsk near the Pacific to the Chizha test site at the Kanin Peninsula, some 3,300 miles away.
It was Russia’s first submarine missile test launch from the Pacific in more than a decade, highlighting Russia’s shift in focus to the Pacific region.
Russian and Chinese naval forces are set to conduct joint military exercises in the region in the near future.
Full article: Russia Conducts Large-Scale Nuclear Attack Exercise (Washington Free Beacon)