Russian nuclear forces conduct major test
Russia has conducted a major exercise aimed at testing its strategic nuclear forces, the Kremlin confirmed on Wednesday. The drills involved all three components of the nuclear triad: intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-armed submarines, and strategic bombers, the statement said.
According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, the drills focused on the simulated delivery of “a massive nuclear strike by the strategic offensive-oriented forces in response to a nuclear strike by a [simulated] enemy.”
The test also evaluated military leadership readiness capacity to command the strategic nuclear forces, the Kremlin added. All forces involved “followed through” with their goals, it added.
The exercise involved launching Russia’s state-of-the-art Yars intercontinental ballistic missile from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in the country’s north. The missile successfully hit its target at the Kura Missile Test Range, on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia’s far east, more than 5,700 kilometers from the launch site.
Russia’s nuclear-powered ‘Tula’ submarine launched a ‘Sineva’ ballistic missile from the Barents Sea, just north of the Arkhangelsk Region, the statement said. Tu-95 strategic nuclear bombers also launched several nuclear-capable cruise missiles, it added.
The drills were personally overseen by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and partly coordinated by the Russian National Defense Operations Center in Moscow.
The Defense Ministry has also published a series of videos reportedly of the drills, featuring ballistic missile launches and Russian strategic bombers.
The exercise was conducted just weeks after President Vladimir Putin pledged that Moscow will not resume live nuclear testing, unless the US breaks the taboo first.
On Tuesday, the Russian Federation Council – the upper house of the national parliament – approved a bill that would withdraw Russian ratification of a treaty banning such tests. The Russian State Duma, the lower house, had previously passed the legislation.
These legislative moves followed years of frustration at the failure of the Americans to commit to the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), which Moscow ratified in 2000.
The CTBT has not yet come into force, because its terms require ratification by a set of nations, including the US. Moscow previously explained its decision to withdraw from the agreement by pointing to the position of Washington, which had not ratified the treaty but “deems it appropriate to lecture the signatories.”