Russia has started exercises with the Yars intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system and several thousand troops in what is likely to be seen as another attempt by Moscow to show off its nuclear strength.
“In total, more than 3,000 military personnel and about 300 pieces of equipment are involved in the exercises,” Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement on the Telegram messaging service on Wednesday.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has aimed to make the Yars missile system, which replaced the Topol system, part of Russia’s “invincible weapons” and the mainstay of the ground-based component of its nuclear arsenal.
During the exercises, the Yars mobile systems will conduct manoeuvres in three Russian regions, the ministry said, without identifying the regions.
“Strategic missile-men will carry out a set of measures to camouflage and counter modern aerial reconnaissance means in cooperation with formations and units of the Central Military District and the Aerospace Forces,” the ministry said.
There are few confirmed tactical and technical characteristics of the Yars mobile ICBM, which reportedly have an operational range of 12,000 km (7,500 miles) and can carry multiple nuclear warheads.
According to military bloggers, the systems can carry multiple independently targetable nuclear warheads and can be mounted on truck carriers or deployed in silos.
Since launching its invasion of Ukraine in February last year, Russia has conducted numerous military exercises on its own or with other countries, such as China or South Africa.
It has also increased military training with Belarus, which borders both Russia and Ukraine, conducting a series of comprehensive drills over the past year.