Russia says its forces practised simulated nuclear-capable missile strikes

Russia’s defence ministry confirms the missile strike practise by Baltic fleet in Kaliningrad area

Arpan Rai
Thursday 05 May 2022 09:44 BST
Russia tests nuclear-capable intercontinental missile

The Russian defence ministry said its forces in Baltic fleet practised a nuclear-capable missile strike successfully along with short-range ballistic Iskander operational and tactical missile complexes in the western enclave of Kaliningrad region.

“As part of the combat training of the Baltic Fleet’s forces in the Kaliningrad region, a simulated missile strike exercise was carried out with the Iskander operational and tactical missile complexes,” the defence ministry said in a statement.

The renewed military drill comes at the time Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marked its 70th day, in which thousands have been killed and millions have been displaced.

In the combat training drill, the soldiers stealthily moved rocket launchers to a designated spot and fired the missile at the mock enemy’s location, the defence ministry said.

“In the course of the exercise, the rocket launchers moved stealthily to the designated position area, where, having equipped launching positions, they carried out electronic single and group launches at targets simulating missile launchers, airfields, protected facilities, the concentration of military equipment and the command posts of the mock enemy,” it said.

Practising subsequent moves in the event of response from the enemy, the Russian soldiers carried out a change of position manoeuvre after the launches in order to “evade a possible retaliatory strike”.

The ministry officials added that the combat crews of the Baltic crew’s missile unit practised drills “in conditions of radiation and chemical contamination, as well as to repel an attack by sabotage and reconnaissance groups of a mock enemy.”

In this latest military exercise, the Russian troops focussed on improving their cohesion of formations and units on ground zero, professional skills of personnel when required to move into designated areas and the camouflage of combat vehicles.

More than 100 military personnel and about 20 units of military and special equipment were involved in Wednesday’s exercise, the defence ministry said.

The Russian president has repeatedly warned Ukraine and its allies in the West of drastic consequences from the time Moscow’s troops invaded the former Soviet territory.

Russia has deployed nuclear weapons in Kaliningrad and uses it as a threat even before the invasion was ordered on 24 February, Lithuanian defence minister Arvydas Anusauskas said.

"Nuclear weapons have always been kept in Kaliningrad ... the international community, the countries in the region, are perfectly aware of this," the minister had said.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba has accused Russia of “resorting to the missile terrorism” tactics in order to spread fear across Ukraine. The comments came shortly after the Russian troops fired sea and air missiles to destroy electric power facilities at five railway stations across the besieged country.

The artillery and aircraft also struck troop strongholds and fuel and ammunition depots in Ukraine, possibly taking down a bridge.

Russia’s nuclear stockpile is estimated to have approximately 4,477 warheads, of which around 1,588 are strategic warheads which can be deployed on ballistic missiles and at heavy bomber bases.

In its reserve, Russia has an approximate additional 977 strategic warheads, along with 1,912 nonstrategic warheads.

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