Russia test launches ballistic missiles during nuclear response drills
A Russian Air Force Tu-95MC strategic bomber has successfully test launched air-to-surface cruise missiles during a nuclear response exercise, amid continuing tensions between the country and the West over the Ukraine crisis.
A total of six cruise missiles were fired by the bomber at ground targets, simulating critical facilities of military infrastructure of a hypothetical enemy at the aviation training area of the Western military district, reported RT.
The Russian Ministry of Defence later confirmed that all the targets were intercepted as planned.
Monitored by the Russian President Vladimir Putin, the drills also involved test firing of the Topol intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) from the Plesetsk range and the multiple-warhead SS-N-23 ballistic missiles, by two Delta-class nuclear-powered submarines from Russia's Northern and Pacific fleets.
In addition, the war games included a demonstration of the Russian missile defence system's ability to counter an incoming ballistic missile attack. They also included manoeuvres of formations of missile soldiers, aircraft, artillery, and air defence systems in replicating the destruction of enemy ground forces and missile and air strikes, according to RIA Novosti.
In a televised statement, Putin said the exercises were originally planned in November 2013, and are aimed at evaluating the operational readiness of the armed forces.
"The exercises will involve all branches of the armed forces across the country," Putin said, noting that the country will continue to stage both planned and snap drills in future.
The presidents of Belarus, Armenia, Kirgizstan and Tajikistan observed the drills from Russia's National Defence Centre.
Image: A Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber stationed at Engels Air Force Base, Russia. Photo: courtesy of Marina Lystseva.