April 19, 2024

VLADIMIR Putin has ordered his fleet to test a nuclear missile launch in a surprise revenge move – on the one-year anniversary of the sinking of his flagship.

The unexpected drills were announced by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu – one year after the sinking of the Moskva.

Vladimir Putin ordered his Pacific Fleet to undertake surprise war games to test their readiness to stage a retaliatory nuclear strike on the West.

The Pacific Fleet’s strategic firepower has been seen since Soviet times as Moscow’s main weapon in retaliatory strikes.

This move appears to be a deliberate show of strength against the West amid Putin’s war against Ukraine which has already cost hundreds of thousands of lives. 

The exercises based around a naval base in Vladivostok were expected to involve the firing of missiles and testing the readiness of nuclear-capable strategic bombers as well as the fleet’s submarines.

These war games also had more limited objectives such as repelling supposed enemy attacks on Sakhalin island and the Kuril chain north of Japan. 

Japan asserts territorial rights to the Kuril Islands which were grabbed by Stalin in World War Two. 

Russia last year suspended peace talks with Japan to protest Tokyo’s sanctions against Moscow over its action in Ukraine.

General Valery Gerasimov – the Kremlin’s most senior soldier – said Russia’s naval forces would be put on high alert during the drills and deployed to training areas, where they will conduct combat exercises.

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He said: “The main goal of this check is to build up the ability of the armed forces to solve the tasks of repelling the aggression of a potential enemy from oceanic and sea areas.

“During the event, the Pacific Fleet will have to repel massive missile and air strikes, conduct exercises to search for and destroy submarines, perform torpedo and artillery firing and missile launches.”