Russia Makes Show of Force in Sea of Japan, Site of Tsarist-Era Naval Defeat
Bogged down fighting in Ukraine, Russian forces flex their muscles in Northeast Asia while the Americans and South Koreans are staging their most intensive military exercises in six years.
Moscow is making its presence known as a military power in Northeast Asia, staging its own war games in the Sea of Japan where the Russians suffered one of their most disastrous defeats in their war against Japan in the early 20th century.
Bogged down fighting in Ukraine, Russian forces still have the strength to flex their muscles in Northeast Asia while the Americans and South Koreans are staging their most intensive military exercises in six years.
It was in the same Sea of Japan that a Japanese fleet defeated the Russian fleet, ordered to fight the Japanese by the Russian tsar in 1905.
Russia joined in the war games last week with the flight of Tupolev-95 bombers over the Sea of Japan, known to Korea as the East Sea, and has just followed up firing a couple of missiles into the same waters. This time the Russians fired from a navy vessel, claiming to have hit their target from 60 miles away.
The Russians seemed determined to demonstrate their strength as a military power in the region while American and South Korean forces entered a new phase of exercises in which they’ve been engaged for the past two weeks.
The aircraft carrier Nimitz hovered off South Korea’s southeast coast while marines prepared to stage a landing further up the east coast
Russia, announcing what it said had been a successful test of its Moskit missile, fired off a fusillade of rhetoric denouncing America and Japan for militarizing the region.
The Russian newspaper Rossiyskaya Gezeta quoted the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolay Parushev, as saying Washington “has pushed Tokyo toward militarizing once again and wants to turn its people back into Kamikazes” – the word, literally “divine wind,” for the Japanese pilots who sacrificed their lives by flying their planes into American navy vessels in World War II.
The test of the Russian missiles, which are known as SS-N-22 Sunburn among NATO nations, appeared to have been planned in coordination with ongoing North Korean missile tests. Like the North Korean missiles, they’re capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un sought to harden the North Korean threat by visiting the facility where his nuclear warheads are stored.
A photograph distributed by Pyongyang shows him standing beside a large glistening warhead at an undisclosed location.