Russia Launches Missiles From Submarines And Underground Silos In Nuclear Drill
Russia conducted a sweeping nuclear forces drill this week, launching missiles from submarines and underground silos across the country.
The move comes as the US-Russia arms control treaty, known as New START, is set to expire in early February next year. While Moscow and Washington have been engaged in negotiations regarding an extension, reports say differences remain between the two nations.
Jaw-dropping footage has been released by the Russian Defence Ministry, showing large missiles firing off from a number of bases as other military personnel carry out their own drills.
Check out a video of the missile launches below:
One of the standout moments of the footage shows a ground-based intercontinental ballistic missile launching from the Plesetsk facility in northwestern Russia on Wednesday, December 8.
Tu-160 and Tu-95 strategic bombers also fired long-range cruise missiles at test targets, with successful hits reported in the Pemboy training ground in the Komi Republic.
Missiles fired from Plesetsk and the Barents Sea also hit targets at the Kura training ground in Kamchatka, located on Russia’s Pacific coast.
A statement from the ministry confirmed all operations were conducted under President Vladimir Putin’s command, reading: ‘Training to manage strategic offensive forces was held under the supervision of the commander-in-chief. The training goals were fulfilled in full.’
The country’s military drills have seen significant expansion in recent years due to rising tensions with the US and other countries in the west. It’s believed its relations with other nations have dropped to post-Cold War lows following Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
New START was the result of cooperation between former US President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, signed two years into Obama’s first term in 2010.
The agreement set strict limits in place of no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, with safeguards and checks via on-site inspections to make sure both nations complied.
Under Donald Trump and Putin’s presidencies, both Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019, leaving New START as the only remaining nuclear arms control deal between the two countries still standing until its expiry in February.
Arms control advocates see this is a dangerous step for global stability, as New START is currently the only standing requirement for checks on nuclear forces in the US and Russia.
President-elect Joe Biden will only have 16 days after his inauguration to try to renewing the treaty, something which he’s promised to pursue – however, it would need to be quick.
Lynn Rusten, who worked on New START in the Obama administration, told NPR: ‘I think it’s certainly possible, and it’s on their radar screen as something that has to be done. But there’s not time for negotiations on anything beyond just a straight extension. You can’t start introducing something new that you want to attach or have as a condition.’
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