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Russian troops put advanced anti-aircraft systems to the test

Russian troops put advanced anti-aircraft systems to the test
Russian aerospace defense forces have test-fired S-300 and S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems at a large military drill in the country’s southern Astrakhan Region.

“Three armed regiments carried out test fires of S-400 ‘Triumph’ and S-300 ‘Favorit’ surface-to-air missiles,” Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Col. Igor Klimov said on Tuesday.

Target missiles Kaban and Pischal were used to simulate the high-speed targets during the drill, he added.

S-400 Triumph is the next generation upgrade to the S-300 anti-aircraft weapon system family, which was deployed around Moscow back in 2011. It has an operational range of up to 400 kilometers, depending on the missiles it is using, and can destroy up to 36 targets simultaneously.

Over 800 servicemen and more than 200 military vehicles are taking part in the war games at the Ashuluk Range, Klimov said. The summoned troops are responsible for 13 regions in Russia’s west, including Moscow.

RIA Novosti / Evgeny Yepanchintsev

Ashuluk firing range was a subject of a recent exchange between Washington and Moscow.

Earlier this month, the drills area housed over 100 warplanes and helicopters, which took part in the joint drill by Russia’s air force and air defense forces. Following the drill, US Department of State spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Washington is “deeply concerned” by the maneuvers of the Russian military, which are “provocative and only serve to escalate tensions” on the border with Ukraine.

The Russian Defense Ministry was quick to point to the large distance between Ashuluk and the conflict zone in Ukraine, almost 1,000 kilometers away bordering Kazakhstan in Central Asia. The ministry thus voiced “concerns over the lack of basic geography knowledge expressed by Jen Psaki.”

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In March and April, the Russian military did conduct separate mass ground exercises, which Moscow explicitly linked to the growing unrest in south-eastern Ukraine.

In April, the Ukrainian army began a military campaign to bring to heel the protesters in the country’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions, who refused to recognize the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev and demanded federalization. Over the summer, the operation started gradually spilling over the border, with Russian checkpoints and refugee camps coming under fire from the Ukrainian side.