Russia’s navy has test fired supersonic antiship missiles at a mock target in the Sea of Japan, the Russian defence ministry has said.
The ministry said on Tuesday that two ships launched a missile attack on a simulated enemy warship located about 100km (62 miles) away. Two Moskit supersonic cruise missiles that have conventional and nuclear warhead capacity, successfully hit their target, the ministry said.
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“In the waters of the Sea of Japan, missile ships of the Pacific Fleet fired Moskit cruise missiles at a mock enemy sea target,” the ministry said in a statement on its Telegram account on Tuesday.
“The target, located at a distance of about 100 kilometres (62.14 miles), was successfully hit by a direct hit from two Moskit cruise missiles,” it added.
The P-270 Moskit missile, which has the NATO reporting name SS-N-22 Sunburn, is a medium-range supersonic cruise missile of Soviet origin and is capable of destroying a ship within a range of up to 120km (75 miles).
The Russian navy’s missile firing exercise comes a week after two Russian strategic bomber planes, capable of carrying nuclear weapons, flew over the Sea of Japan for more than seven hours in what Moscow said was a “planned flight”.
Russia’s defence ministry said the exercise on Tuesday took place in Peter the Great Bay in the Sea of Japan, but it did not give more precise coordinates, according to the Associated Press.
Japan’s Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi said his country would stay vigilant against Moscow’s military operations, while adding that no damage had been reported after the missile launches.
“As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, Russian forces are also becoming more active in the Far East, including Japan’s vicinities,” Hayashi told a regular press conference, according to Reuters news agency.
Japan’s Defence Ministry had no immediate response.
The announcement of the weapon’s test follows just weeks after Moscow reported that a Russian submarine in the Sea of Japan had hit a land target more than 1,000km (620 miles) away with a Kalibr cruise missile in a drill.
Russia’s defence ministry published a video on March 3 showing the missile emerging from under the water and then hitting a target at a training area in Russia’s eastern Khabarovsk region.
Russia, locked in a decades-old territorial dispute with Tokyo over a chain of Pacific islands, said an undisclosed number of its Pacific Fleet ships, jets and drones were also involved in the drill, securing the perimeter.
Moscow has used Kalibr missiles to attack multiple targets in Ukraine, including power stations, by launching them from ships and submarines in the Black Sea.
Japan does not plan to lodge a protest over the missile exercise, said Tasuku Matsuki, Japanese Foreign Ministry official in charge of Russia, noting that the location of the exercise – Peter the Great Bay – is considered Russian coast, though it faces the water between the two countries.
“On the whole, Japan is concerned about Russia’s increasing military activities around the Japanese coasts and watching them with great interest,” Matsuki said, according to the Associated Press.
In September, Japan protested multinational military exercises on the Russian-held Kuril Islands – some of which are claimed by Japan – and expressed concern about Russian and Chinese warships conducting shooting drills in the Sea of Japan.