Russia Flexes Naval Might With Pacific Snap Drills Involving Over 25,000 Servicemen
Russia’s defense ministry has revealed details of ongoing snap live-fire military exercises which kicked off April 14. President Putin also hailed the drills as a success at a moment most forces are concentrated in Ukraine. Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said Monday that the surprise combat readiness check of Russia’s Pacific Fleet has involved over 25,000 servicemen being placed on high alert.
“They’re engaged in fire drills and tactical exercises, while also working on improving interactions between different branches of the military,” Shoigu said. He also revealed that in total 167 ships, 12 submarines, and 89 planes and helicopters are taking part in the large-scale exercises.
Image source: Russian Defense Ministry
Shoigu specified that during the drills Russia’s nuclear-capable long-range strategic bombers will “fly over the central part of the Pacific Ocean to imitate strikes against groups of enemy ships.”
These drills which are far away from the frontlines of the Ukraine war are likely an attempt to demonstrate to the West that Russia still has immense military capability in different theatres. The Associated Press detailed the expanse of the drills as follows:
The Defense Ministry has declared that sectors in the southern part of the Sea of Okhotsk, the Peter the Great Bay of the Sea of Japan and the Avacha Bay on the southeastern coast of the Kamchatka Peninsula would be closed to sea and air traffic for the duration of practice torpedo and missile launches and artillery exercises.
The ministry said that the drills were intended to “test the Pacific Fleet’s readiness to repel aggression.” The ministry described the briefing as a show of Russia’s “voluntary transparency.”
Shoigu said at a moment that the Ukraine ground and air war still rages that “nobody has aborted the task of developing the navy” and declared that the “final stage” of the drills will kick off Tuesday. He previously noted that the combat readiness checks are all about “boosting the ability of the armed forces to execute the tasks of repelling aggression by a potential enemy from maritime directions.”
On Monday President Putin praise the “high level” performance of the Russian navy and armed forces in the exercise, saying that more such drills will be held.
Interestingly, multi-national drills are also kicking off in Sweden this week, per a description in Russian state media:
The Aurora-23 international military exercise – the largest over the past 25 years – began in Sweden on Monday. It will last until May 11, with the United States, Britain, Finland, Poland, Norway, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Denmark, Austria, Germany and France taking part, the Swedish Defense Ministry said.
The purpose of the exercise is to “improve the combat readiness of the armed forces” in the event of a hypothetical armed attack on Sweden.
“The exercise is one of the main tools of enhancing, testing and demonstrating combat readiness,” the Defense Ministry said. “Together with military units from our partner countries, we strengthen security while enhancing Sweden’s operational capabilities.”
The exercise will take place in the air, on land and at sea. Some 26,000 troops from all military units, mainly in the south of Sweden and also on the island of Gotland will take part.
With this, it looks like the West is using the opportunity to flex its military might in these annual drills as well, at a moment the Ukraine conflict shows no signs of abating.
Mon, 04/17/2023 – 23:30