Moscow fires cruise missiles in sea drills between Russia and Alaska

Map of the Barents Strait between Alaska and Russia's Chukotka region. How will tensions between Moscow and Washington affect researchers in the Arctic? (iStock)
A map showing a portion of the Chukotka Peninsula (left) and the Bering Sea between Russia and Alaska. A Russian missile exercise targeted simulated enemy ships in the Bering Sea. (iStock)

Russia fired cruise missiles at mock targets in the seas separating it from Alaska on Monday in what it said was an exercise to protect its northern shipping route in the Arctic.

The defense ministry said Vulcan, Granit and Onyx cruise missiles were fired over distances of hundreds of kilometers to strike targets simulating enemy ships in the Bering Sea.

The exercise involved land-, ship- and submarine-launched missiles and included about 10,000 military personnel, as well as planes and helicopters, the ministry said.

The drills took place on Russia’s Chukotka peninsula and in the Chukchi and Bering Seas, and were supervised by Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, commander-in-chief of the Russian navy.

Russia is keen to demonstrate its continued ability to project force in the Arctic and the far east despite the strains on its armed forces from the 18-month war in Ukraine.

Northern Sea Route development 

Moscow said last year it planned to spend almost $30 billion by 2035 on developing the northern sea route, which has become more viable as climate change has reduced sea ice in the Arctic. It runs across the top of Russia from Murmansk near the borders with Norway and Finland to the Bering Strait near Alaska.

President Vladimir Putin highlighted the importance of the route in a speech to the BRICS group of countries last month, saying Russia was planning to construct new ports and fuel terminals and expand its icebreaker fleet.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: U.S. report claims Trudeau told NATO Canada will never meet military spending target, CBC News

Finland: With northern focus, Finland applies EU funding to improve military mobility, The Independent Barents Observer

Norway: Norwegians fear radiation as Russia prolongs test-window for Burevestnik missiles, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russian secret sub to be repaired and put back in service, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Sweden wants to rebuild its “total defence” system, Radio Sweden

United States: US Navy brings massive fire power to Tromsø, The Independent Barents Observer

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