Russia’s military has test-fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles amid increasing tensions with the US on a range of issues, particularly the Syrian crisis.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the Russian forces fired a nuclear-capable rocket from a Pacific Fleet submarine in the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan on Wednesday.
A Topol missile was further shot off from a submarine in the Barents Sea, while a third was launched from an inland site in the country’s northwest, Russian news agencies reported.
The launches come at a time when relations between Russia and the US have hit their lowest point in years following the collapse of a ceasefire in Syria.
‘Russia drills pose no threat to anyone’
In another development on Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu accused the West of trying to portray his country’s military exercises as threats, saying the drills are no source of concern but rather part of usual combat training measures.
Speaking at a press briefing in Moscow, Shoigu rejected “reproaches” from Western countries that are afraid of the level of Russia’s combat readiness and capability.
“Scheduled activities of our operational and combat training are misrepresented as ‘alarming signals’. The ideas of a military threat, a new cold war or an arms race are being circulated. Of course, it is not true,” he said.
The minister further assured that the military exercises are aimed at ensuring Russia’s security.
Russia has held a series of drills and inspections of its armed forces’ combat readiness in recent months.
The Caucasus 2016 exercises, which were one of Russia’s biggest war games, were held at the Southern Military District as well as in the Black and Caspian seas on September 5-10.
Russia and China also held their first exercises in May. They will also hold their second joint anti-missile drills next year.
Earlier this week, Russia announced plans to hold joint drills with Egyptian forces, dubbed the Protectors of Friendship-2016 military exercises, in Egypt in mid-October.