BFF-43 Putin watches missile launch during nuclear arms drill

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Putin watches missile launch during nuclear arms drill

MOSCOW, Oct 17, 2019 (BSS/AFP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin watched
Thursday as the country’s armed forces tested missiles that can carry thermo-
nuclear warheads.

The Grom-19 or Thunder-19 strategy games began Wednesday and involve
12,000 troops deployed on ships, planes and nuclear-missile-carrying
submarines carrying out launches of long-range precision missiles, the
defence ministry said.

The games, which do not involve foreign forces, come soon after Russia and
the US abandoned their 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, which limited
the use of nuclear and conventional medium-range weapons.

The drills were used to test RS-24, RSM-50 and Sineva intercontinental
ballistic missile systems, the ministry said. They employed more than 200
launchers.

Putin visited the national defence control centre in Moscow to watch a
video transmission of the live launches, accompanied by defence minister
Sergei Shoigu, Russian television showed.

Shoigu said the armed forces were simulating “tasks in an armed conflict
and nuclear war,” deploying “highly accurate nuclear weapons and weapons
based on new physical principles.”

The defence ministry said cruise and ballistic missiles were fired from
the Barents Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk by submarines of the northern and
Pacific fleets. They landed at the Kura missile test site in far eastern
Kamchatka and the Chizha test site in northwestern Russia.

The ministry had said earlier that the scenario involved heightened
tensions on Russia’s border that threatened its sovereignty, while adding
that the scenario was purely defensive in nature.

BSS/AFP/BZC/2030HRS