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The maneuvers are the latest in a steady series of war games intended to strengthen the troops’ readiness amid tensions with the West.
The maneuvers are the latest in a steady series of war games intended to strengthen the troops’ readiness amid tensions with the West.

Putin Takes Part in Russian Military Drills, Fires Missiles

Putin’s direct involvement in overseeing intercontinental ballistic missile launches is an event that has been rarely reported by the Kremlin in the past

Putin Takes Part in Russian Military Drills, Fires Missiles

Russian President Vladimir Putin has taken part in major military drills of Russian nuclear forces and personally directed the test-firing of four intercontinental ballistic missiles as part of the exercises, the Kremlin said Friday.
Putin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the drills Thursday involved all elements of the military’s nuclear triad —nuclear submarines, strategic bombers and a land-based launcher. He added that the exercises were routine and not directly linked to any international developments, AP reported.
Still, the president’s direct involvement in overseeing intercontinental ballistic missile launches is an event that has been rarely reported by the Kremlin in the past.
“The commander in chief conducted the launch of four intercontinental ballistic missiles,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters.
Peskov wouldn’t elaborate on what specific part Putin played in the war games, saying that the president took “the necessary moves in line with the standard procedure for relevant situations as the commander in chief.”
The Russian Defense Ministry said that in Thursday’s drills, a Topol ICBM fired from the Plesetsk launchpad in northwestern Russia hit a designated target on the Kura firing range on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the Far East.
A nuclear submarine in the Barents Sea also launched an ICBM at the same Kura range, while another nuclear submarine in the Sea of Okhotsk fired two ICBM in the opposite direction, hitting targets at the Chizha firing range in the Arkhangelsk region in Russia’s northwest.
As part of the maneuvers, the Tu-160, the Tu-95 and the Tu-22 bomber launched cruise missiles at mock targets at firing ranges on Kamchatka, the Komi region in the far North and in Russia’s ex-Soviet neighbor Kazakhstan.
The maneuvers are the latest in a steady series of war games intended to strengthen the troops’ readiness amid tensions with the West.
In September, the Zapad (West) 2017 drills held jointly by Russia and Belarus have worried some NATO members, who have criticized what they have described as a lack of transparency and questioned Moscow’s intentions. Russia has rejected the criticism.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a meeting with top brass Friday that the military will continue to strengthen its forces in western Russia in response to a NATO buildup in Poland and the Baltics.
“The military-political situation at our western frontier remain tense and is set to exacerbate,” he said.
***North Korea Crisis
The drills took place amid heightened international tensions after North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test last month. Russia shares a border with North Korea. Kim Jong Un’s regime has also launched more than a dozen rockets this year, including two intercontinental ballistic missiles that he claims could reach as far as the US East Coast, Bloomberg reported.
Amid an escalating war of words with US President Donald Trump, North Korea has also threatened to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean. The nuclear crisis is likely to be high on the agenda when Trump visits Asia from Nov. 3 to Nov. 14, with stops in Japan, South Korea and China.
Putin urged all sides to “lower the rhetoric” earlier this month after warning that Trump’s threat to destroy North Korea if the isolated Communist state attacked the US was leading to a “very dangerous dead end.”
Trump ridiculed Kim as “little rocket man” in a speech to the United Nations last month, prompting North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho to say the US leader had lit the “fuse of war,” according to the TASS news service.

 

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