RUSSIA is staging major war games involving 3,000 troops and nuclear missiles after the Kremlin threatened a “target” in the West.
It comes as Russia today threatened Sweden and Finland over joining Nato, saying it would make the Nordic countries a “legitimate target for Russian retaliatory measures, including those of a military nature”.
Putin has aimed to make the mammoth Yars intercontinental ballistic missile system, which replaced the Topol, the mainstay of the ground-based component of Moscow’s nuclear arsenal.
A video shows the missile system on drills amid his war against Ukraine and high tension with the West.
Russia’s defence ministry said: “In total, more than 3,000 military personnel and about 300 pieces of equipment are involved in the exercises.
“Strategic missilemen will carry out a set of measures to camouflage and counter modern aerial reconnaissance means in cooperation with formations and units of the Central Military District and the Aerospace Forces.”
Yars missiles have a range of 7,500 miles, meaning they are capable of striking both Europe and the US.
They can carry multiple independently targetable nuclear warheads and can be mounted on truck carriers or deployed in silos.
The drills involve both the Novosibirsk and Omsk Missile Corps equipped with the Yars strategic intercontinental ballistic system.
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A statement from the ministry added: “A commission of the strategic missile forces’ command will assess cohesion among the personnel as they fulfill their tasks.”
The RS-24 Yars – a modification of the Topol-M missile – is Russia’s strategic missile system armed with a solid-propellant intercontinental ballistic missile.
Yevgeny Kelgayev, Missile Regiment Commander, said: “The Missile Regiment, led by the Commander of the Strategic Missile Forces, has begun taking the Yars missile system out to combat patrol routes and field positions.”
Putin’s hypersonic Sarmat – also called Satan-2 – appears subject to delay after a failure to meet a deployment deadline at the end of 2022, however.
But the Kremlin has claimed Russia plans to have Poseidon apocalypse underwater drones that can trigger a “radioactive tsunami” in the Pacific by end of next year.
The torpedos are 79ft long and carry a nuclear warhead – shooting towards enemy targets beneath the waves at speeds of around 70 knots (80mph).
It is understood they are set to be deployed on the Belgorod and Khabarovsk nuclear submarines, reports Tass news agency.
What is the RS-24 Yars missile?
THE RS-24 Yars is a nuclear intercontinental ballistic missile developed by Russia.
It has a range of up to 7,500 miles and can carry up to four independently targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) or a single large-yield thermonuclear warhead.
The missile can be launched from silos or mobile launchers, which makes it harder to detect and target.
The RS-24 Yars is a highly accurate missile with a circular error probable (CEP) of less than 150 meters, meaning it can hit targets with great precision.
It also has advanced countermeasures and can penetrate missile defense systems.
The RS-24 Yars is an improvement over its predecessor, the Topol-M missile, and is designed to replace it in the Russian military’s strategic missile forces.
It is considered one of the most advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles in the world and is a key component of Russia’s nuclear deterrent.
Meanwhile, Sweden‘s foreign ministry has summoned the Russian ambassador after Moscow’s diplomatic mission to Stockholm said the Scandinavian country would become a “legitimate target” for Russia’s retaliatory measures if it joins Nato.
Both Sweden and Finland angered Moscow last May after jointly applying for Nato membership, abandoning decades of non-alignment in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Sweden’s bid has stalled due to opposition from Turkey whose president has said his country wouldn’t ratify membership before disputes between Ankara and Stockholm are resolved.
Russian ambassador Viktor Tatarintsev posted online: “If anyone still believes that this (Nato membership) in any way will somehow improve Europe’s security, you can be sure that the new members of the hostile bloc will become a legitimate target for Russian retaliatory measures, including military ones”.
He said that rather than becoming safer Sweden was “taking a step towards the abyss” by joining Nato.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said “the Ministry for Foreign Affairs will summon the Russian ambassador to make a clear statement against this blatant attempt at influence.
“Sweden’s security policy is determined by Sweden — no one else.”
Meanwhile, a leading Russia expert has warned Putin could still use nuclear weapons in Ukraine in a final act of destruction.
To stop this “death cult” act the tyrant needs to be told of the apocalyptic consequences to Russia and him personally, which the West has so far failed to do, says Keir Giles.
Throughout the war in Ukraine, Putin has engaged in nuclear sabre rattling in a bid to warn the West off increasing military aid to Kyiv.
In the most direct threat, he said Russia “will use all the means at our disposal” to defend itself adding “this is not a bluff” as he announced a mass mobilisation.