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1 Dec, 2020 13:52

Russia makes defensive missiles combat ready in Far East as tensions rise after last week's border incursion by US Navy

Russia makes defensive missiles combat ready in Far East as tensions rise after last week's border incursion by US Navy

Moscow has ordered an advanced air-defense system to be readied for action on the remote Kuril Islands in the Sea of Japan, just days after claiming to have intercepted a US warship that sailed into Russian waters in the region.

Colonel-General Gennady Zhidko, the regional commander of the Air Defense Forces, personally inspected the S-300V4 missile launcher, and praised its operators' "training to act upon detection of any violation of the air borders of the Russian Federation in the Kuril Islands."

The news comes only a week after the country's navy reportedly threatened to ram the USS 'John McCain', a US destroyer, which it says was detected two kilometers inside Russian waters off the coast of the Far Eastern capital Vladivostok.

Also on rt.com 'John McCain' warship drama: US Navy defends vessel entering Russian waters by blasting Moscow’s ‘EXCESSIVE maritime claims'

The Americans claimed their sailors were engaged in a "freedom of navigation operation" aimed at "challenging Russia's excessive maritime claims." They insist that Peter the Great Bay was wrongly claimed by the Soviet Union in 1984, while Moscow insists its borders are valid under international law. 

Diplomatic spats over airspace violations have become a common feature in relations between the two countries in recent years. In June, Russia scrambled fighter jets to intercept two US Air Force B-52 bombers that flew over the Sea of Okhotsk, also in the Far East region. A few weeks beforehand, a Russian bomber formation was picked up by American jets just 20 nautical miles off the coast of Alaska.

Moscow has invested substantial sums in air defense in recent years. In September, American magazine the National Interest reported on the delivery of three S-400 Triumf systems, which it called "one of the finest ever made." The launcher, manufactured by a Russian state-owned company, can provide protection against airstrikes, as well as cruise missiles. However, Washington has sought to impose economic sanctions on other countries simply for seeking to purchase it, with India, China and Saudi Arabia agreeing deals to import the defensive hardware.

In 2019, Turkey announced that it had also procured the S-400 system despite US threats. As a NATO ally, Ankara's decision caused consternation in Washington, which immediately canceled an order of American F-35 jets that Turkey had ordered.

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