During the ongoing of the Ukraine crisis, Russia has heightened tensions even more with an exercise of its cruise and ballistic missile forces. While the US insists that Russia is planning an invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s defense ministry announced a planned exercise of strategic deterrent forces, including ballistic and cruise missile launches, under President Putin’s direction.
The Russian Aerospace Forces, the Southern Military District, the Strategic Missile Forces, and the Northern and Black Sea fleets all took part in the previously planned drill, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense. The wide-ranging exercise, which includes the testing of ballistic and guided missiles, had a strategic deterrence component. The drill, according to Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, is part of the normal training procedure, and that President Putin and Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko monitored it from the situation room in the Kremlin.
Putin was also in direct communication with military commanders including Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces General Valery Gerasimov, Northern Fleet Commander Admiral Aleksandr Moiseev, and Naval Commander Admiral Nikolai Evmenov as he watched the exercise.
As part of the exercise, the Russian army launched ballistic and guided missiles from air, land, and sea assets. During the exercise, the Russian Aerospace Forces successfully launched hypersonic “Kinzhal” missiles. According to a Russian Ministry of Defense statement, ships and submarines from the Northern and Black Sea fleets launched “Kalibr” cruise missiles and “Tsirkon” hypersonic missiles against naval and ground targets, and the ballistic missile “Sineva” was launched from the waters of the Barents Sea from the Northern Fleet’s Karelia strategic nuclear submarine to the Kura Missile Test Range. Footage of this launch was shared on social media.
In the continuation of the exercise cruise missiles were launched from the “Iskander” system at the Kapustin Yar range in the Astrakhan region, the “Yars” intercontinental ballistic missile was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome area to the Kura missile range on the Kamchatka Peninsula, and air-launched cruise missiles, fired from Tu-95MS long-range strategic bombers, reportedly hit targets in the Pemboy and Kura ranges.
The Ministry of Defense stated that the maneuvers were planned to test the readiness of Russia’s military command and personnel, as well as the reliability of its nuclear and conventional weapons, and that the tasks were fulfilled completely in the strategic deterrent exercise, and that “all missiles hit the targets determined at the specified positions.”
The exercises, according to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, pose no threat to anyone. “There are many representatives and attaches from various countries who directly monitor these exercises,” Putin remarked, claiming that the exercises are solely for defensive purposes. But the Russian missile exercise can be seen as a show of force and a further attempt to apply pressure on NATO and Western governments.
Over the weekend, in a 20-minute speech at the 58th International Munich Security Conference in Germany, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Ukraine is in great danger, but that they are continuing to act calmly and without provocation. He warned against the dangers of European appeasement saying “The annexation of Crimea and the war in Donbas affects the whole world,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned. “We will defend our land with or without the support of partners,” he declared.