FOOTAGE shows missiles launched in Russia as part of a major nuclear war games exercise reportedly conducted under the command of Vladimir Putin.
The sweeping drills involved all three legs of the Russian nuclear triad, with nuclear-capable missiles deployed from submarine, land and strategic aircraft, said the country’s defence ministry.
Footage showed a launch by Delta-IV class submarine Karelia (K-18) from the Barents Sea off Russia's northwestern coast.
The ministry’s TV Zevzda also highlighted an intercontinental missile launch from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the western Arkhangelsk region.
Several long-range cruise missiles were also fired from Tu-160 and Tu-95 strategic bombers from the Engels and Ukrainka airfields.
Cruise missiles reportedly successfully hit targets at the Pemboy training ground in the Komi Republic region.
Ballistic missiles from Plesetsk and the Barents Sea hit targets at the Kura training ground in Kamchatka, on Russia’s Pacific coast.
State media agency TASS reported that the launches went ahead under Putin’s command.
“Training to manage strategic offensive forces was held under the supervision of the commander-in-chief,” said a statement from the ministry.
"The training goals were fulfilled in full.”
The war games come less than two months before the New START U.S.-Russian arms control treaty expires in early February.
Moscow and Washington have discussed extending the pact, but differences have remained.
New START was signed in 2010 by then-U.S. President Barack Obama and then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
It limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance.
Its expiration will come just months after the US withdrew from the Open Skies arms control treaty, of which it and Russia were both signatories.
The treaty allowed members to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over each other's territories, and was intended to promote transparency and limit the risk of military escalations between member states.
Meanwhile, the expansion continues of the Sevmash shipyard, a major White Sea shipbuilding enterprise tasked with modernising Russia’s nuclear fleet.
Sevmash is the only Russian shipyard capable of building nuclear powered submarines.
Its expansion is linked to a major modernisation of the country’s underwater fleet, with many new vessels to be produced in the next ten years.
The company's workforce now stands at 30,000, having swollen by more than 3,000 in less than a decade.
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