Russian warships conduct anti-submarine exercises in Asian waters
Warships from the Russian Pacific Fleet are conducting anti-submarine exercises in waters off the country’s far eastern coast, Russia’s Pacific Fleet press service said on Thursday morning.
The exercises involve three corvette warships tasked with locating and destroying a mock enemy submarine with the assistance of helicopters in the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.
“Before the corvettes went out to sea, the siren was set off on board, prompting the crews to practice for emergency measures to put the ships in a state of combat-readiness and for the [military] campaign” the Pacific Fleet press service said.
The fleet also engaged in other anti-aircraft and anti-submarine defense drills. The final stage of the exercises will involve “ship-based counter-sabotage support units with practical counter-sabotage grenade-launching,” it said.
The exercises were at least the second in less than three weeks that the Russia navy has performed in the same waters.
In late March, Russian missile boats fired cruise missiles at a mock target in the Sea of Japan, the Defense Ministry said.
“A team of two missile boats carried out a joint missile strike against a sea shield simulating a simulated enemy warship,” the ministry said in a Telegram post at the time.
“The target was successfully engaged at a distance of 100 kilometers (62 miles) by a direct hit from two Moskit cruise missiles,” the ministry said.
Tensions between Japan and Russia have been increasing in recent months, fueled by Japan’s support of Ukraine after Russia’s invasion.
Thursday’s exercise comes less than a month after Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made a surprise visit to Ukraine. That same day, two Russian strategic bomber planes, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, flew over waters off the Japanese coast for more than seven hours in what Moscow said was a “planned flight,” Reuters reported.
Kishida has previously spoken out forcefully against Russia’s invasion of its neighbor, warning last year that “Ukraine today may be East Asia tomorrow.”
And last month, after pledging additional aid to Ukraine on the eve of the invasion’s first anniversary, Kishida said, “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is not just a European matter, but a challenge to the rules and principles of the entire international community.”
Japan and Russia are also embroiled in a decades-long territorial dispute.
Japan lays claim to the Russian-held southern Kuril islands, which Tokyo calls the Northern Territories, a dispute that dates to the end of World War II, when Soviet troops seized them from Japan.