Rus­sian war­ships hold drills in Ber­ing Sea in huge mil­i­tary ex­er­cise

Tehran Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Rus­sian war­ships held drills in the Ber­ing Sea which sep­a­rates Rus­sia from Alaska, part of Moscow’s big­gest mil­i­tary ma­neu­vers since the fall of the Soviet Union, footage aired by the Min­istry of De­fense showed on Fri­day.

The Vos­tok-2018 (East-2018) drills, which run un­til Sept. 17, are tak­ing place in Siberia and in wa­ters off Rus­sia’s eastern coast, in­volv­ing 300,000 troops, over 1,000 mil­i­tary air­craft and two naval fleets.

The drills are tak­ing place at a time of height­ened ten­sion be­tween the West and Rus­sia, and NATO has said it will mon­i­tor the ex­er­cise closely, as will the United States which has a strong mil­i­tary pres­ence in the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion.

Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in­spected the war games on Thurs­day, vow­ing in a speech to soldiers to strengthen the Rus­sian army and sup­ply it with new gen­er­a­tion weapons and equip­ment.

Putin said Rus­sia was a peace­ful coun­try ready for co­op­er­a­tion with any state in­ter­ested in part­ner­ship, but that it was a soldier’s duty to be ready to de­fend his coun­try and its al­lies.

The Min­istry of De­fense aired footage on Fri­day of the North­ern Fleet’s Vice-Ad­mi­ral Ku­lakov de­stroyer and the Alexan­der Obrakovsky land­ing ship tak­ing part in a mockup res­cue op­er­a­tion in the Ber­ing Sea.

Other footage showed scores of para­troop­ers leap­ing from a plane and de­scend­ing from he­li­copters by ropes in the eastern Siberian ter­ri­tory of Zabaikalsk.

The min­istry also broad­cast clips of mis­siles be­ing launched from its S-300 long-range sur­face-to-air mis­sile sys­tem and its Buk medium-range mis­sile sys­tem.

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