Russian Navy Conducts Large-Scale Maneuvers in the Bering Sea Near Alaska
Aug. 28, 2020 (EIRNS)—The Russian Navy conducted major military exercises near Alaska—the biggest such drills since Soviet times—involving dozens of ships and aircraft, the Russian military reported today, according to Associated Press.
Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Navy, said that more than 50 warships and approximately 40 aircraft were taking place in the Bering Sea exercises. “We are holding such massive drills there for the first time ever,” Admiral Yevmenov said in a statement released by the Russian Defense Ministry, a message that will not be lost on the West.
Russia’s Pacific Fleet took part in the maneuvers, and its representatives said that as part of its exercise, the Omsk nuclear submarine—armed with 24 anti-ship missiles—and the Varyag missile cruiser launched cruise missiles at a practice target in the Bering Sea. Additionally, as part of this extensive exercise, Oniks missiles were launched from the coast of the Chukchi Peninsula at a practice target in the Gulf of Anadyr.
Admiral Yevmenov emphasized that the maneuvers are part of Russia’s efforts to boost its presence in the Arctic region, “We are building up our forces to ensure the economic region. We are getting used to the Arctic space.” The Russian military has rebuilt and expanded numerous facilities across the polar region, revamping runways and deploying additional air defense assets.
The United States monitored the Russian maneuvers. U.S. Northern Command spokesman Bill Lewis confirmed that the exercise is taking place in international waters, well outside U.S. territory.
Interestingly, on Aug. 27, NORAD sent F-22 fighter jets to intercept three groups of Tu-142 Russian maritime patrol aircraft that came close to Alaska; the Russian aircraft remained in the air for five hours.