Russia fired cruise missiles on Monday at mock targets in the Bering Sea, which are the waters separating eastern Russia from Alaska. The Russian Defense Ministry said it is an exercise to protect the northern shipping route in the Arctic.
Russia has increasingly been using the Arctic Ocean for shipping and four weeks ago a group of Russians from the Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute unveiled a massive Russian flag on the sea ice nearby the drifting polar station, “Severny polyus-41,” in an event that was meant to display dominance.
On Monday, Vulcan, Granit and Onyx cruise missiles were fired over distances of hundreds of miles to strike targets that were simulating enemy ships in the Bering Sea, according to Reuters. About 10,000 Russian military troops are involved in the exercise, along with multiple planes, helicopters, and other equipment.
“The drills took place on Russia’s Chukotka peninsula and in the Chukchi and Bering Seas, and were supervised by Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, commander-in-chief of the Russian navy,” Reuters reports.
In July, Russia conducted similar exercises in the Black Sea to the south.
This story will be updated as details emerge.