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    Putin Checks Readiness of Russia’s Nuclear Deterrent

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    Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw a snap check Wednesday of Russia’s nuclear deterrent, aerospace defenses and strategic aviation.

    MOSCOW, October 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russian President Vladimir Putin oversaw a snap check Wednesday of Russia’s nuclear deterrent, aerospace defenses and strategic aviation.

    “The exercise involved launches of ballistic missiles, drills by air defense and missile defense units,” Kremlin press spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, adding that all practice targets had been destroyed.

    The Defense Ministry has confirmed the launches of two silo-based and sea-based ballistic missiles apiece as part of the snap check drills.

    “Missile Forces conducted launches of a RS-12M Topol ballistic missile from the Plesetsk space center and a RS-20V Voyevoda ballistic missile from the Dombarovsky missile site [in central Russia],” the ministry said in a statement.

    “Both missiles hit the designated targets at the Kura testing range on the Kamchatka Peninsula,” the statement said.

    The Defense Ministry said in a separate statement that Russian strategic submarines – the Delta IV-class Bryansk from the Northern Fleet and the Delta III-class Svyatoy Georgy Pobedonosets from the Pacific Fleet – launched ballistic missiles while submerged in the Barents and the Okhotsk seas.

    The ministry said the drills confirmed high degree of readiness of the Russian nuclear deterrent and the efficiency of all tiers of the combat control structure.

    In addition, the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces carried out live-firing exercises at the Kapustin Yar testing range in southern Russia. The exercises involved S-300 Favorit, S-400 Triumf and Pantsir-S air defense systems.

    “The ADF units destroyed over 15 drones simulating aircraft and ballistic missiles flying at various altitudes and speeds in a massive strike [against Russian air defenses],” the Defense Ministry said.

    The drills were the latest in a series of surprise combat-readiness checks since January and follows a major shake-up at the top of the country’s military establishment, tarnished by persistent evidence of rampant corruption.

    The previous snap check, in July, was the largest in the post-Soviet period and involved some 160,000 servicemen, about 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, 130 aircraft and 70 warships from the far-eastern and central military districts.

    Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who took the post in November 2012, has said snap inspections of combat readiness will be conducted regularly and will involve all branches of the Russian Armed Forces.

    Updates with statement on air and missile defense drills at the Kapustin Yar testing range.

    snap check, Voyevoda, Russian Army, Topol-M, Russian Strategic Missile Forces (SMF), Russian Armed Forces, Sergei Shoigu, Plesetsk, Vladimir Putin
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