MOSCOW (Dispatches) - The Russian Pacific Fleet has kicked off large-scale drills in the central part of the Pacific Ocean, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Thursday.
“In accordance with the plan of training military command centers of the Pacific Fleet’s forces (troops) in 2021, an operational exercise of the Fleet’s combined arms forces is running in the distant maritime zone,” the ministry said in a statement.
The Pacific Fleet’s “naval tactical groups have made a transit about 4,000 km long from naval bases and combat watch areas and deployed the Fleet’s groups in the designated area of the Pacific for accomplishing training tasks,” the statement says.
The exercise in the distant maritime zone involves up to 20 surface combatants, submarines and support vessels, including the Fleet’s flagship, the Guards Order of Nakhimov Missile Cruiser Varyag, the ministry said.
It will engage nearly 20 aircraft, “including Tu-142M3 long-range anti-submarine warfare planes, MiG-31BM high-altitude interceptor-fighters and other aircraft of Russia’s Aerospace Force, the defense ministry statement added.
The Russian naval drills come after the U.S. military announced last month that tens of thousands of American sailors and Marines would take part in the largest naval war game in a generation to purportedly prepare for potential conflicts with China or Russia across vast distances.