January 30, 2023

Russian warship armed with hypersonic missiles to train with Chinese, South African navies

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A Russian warship that is armed. Advanced hypersonic missiles The Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that it has completed an exercise in the Atlantic Ocean ahead of next month’s joint naval exercises with the navies of China and South Africa.

Russia’s Admiral Gorshkov frigate, armed with Zircon hypersonic missiles, “practices a missile strike against an enemy surface target,” ship commander Igor Krukhmal said in a video released by the ministry.

Crokhmal said the exercise, described by state news agency Tass as an “electronic launch” or virtual simulation, confirmed the “designed characteristics” of the missile system, which allowed the missiles to have a range of more than 900 kilometers. Pointed to the ability to reach. 559 miles).

The test was part of an extended tour of the Admiral Gorshkov frigate launched earlier this month, when Russian state media said the warship was launched with hypersonic missiles. According to Moscow and Pretoria, the deployment will also include joint exercises with the Chinese and South African navies off the coast of South Africa.

These exercises are being conducted at a time when Russia’s first anniversary is approaching. His all-out invasion of Ukraine And it’s a show of force and – with joint exercises – an opportunity for Moscow to demonstrate that it is not isolated globally despite widespread international condemnation of its unprovoked war.

The White House said Monday that the U.S. “Have concerns? About any country … exercising with Russia while Russia is waging a brutal war against Ukraine.

During a joint meeting in Pretoria on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his South African counterpart Neledi Pandor defended the naval drills, saying Moscow did not want any so-called “scandals” surrounding the drills.

Pandor, who posed smiling and shaking hands with Lavrov, claimed it was normal for all countries to conduct military exercises with “friends from around the world”.

“There should be no coercion on any country to behave with another partner. It is part of the natural course of relations between countries,” he said, refusing to explicitly condemn Russia’s attack. The criticism leveled at South Africa was added without specific reference.

In a ___ A separate statement In detailing the joint exercises, which ran from February 17 to 27, South Africa’s Department of Defense said that contrary to claims by critics, South Africa “is not abandoning its neutral stance on the Russian-Ukraine conflict” and “both Continues to urge the parties to engage in dialogue as a solution to the current conflict.

China It has not issued a statement directly confirming its participation, but its defense ministry website posted an article on Monday by the state-run Xinhua news agency citing South Africa’s announcement of the drills. Is. China is celebrating a week-long Lunar New Year holiday.

The US has repeatedly warned Beijing – which has a close strategic partnership with Moscow – against providing material support to the Russian military in its war in Ukraine.

The Biden administration has recently raised concerns with China about evidence that Chinese companies have sold non-lethal weapons to Russia for use in Ukraine, although it was unclear whether Beijing had knowledge of the alleged transaction.

According to South Africa, the joint naval exercise will involve about 350 personnel from the South African National Defense Force alongside their Russian and Chinese counterparts. A previous exercise between the three navies took place in 2019.

It is the first time that the exercises will involve the Admiral Gorshkov frigate carrying the Zirkon hypersonic missile, which First tested in late 2021..

The long-range missiles, which Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier this month were “unmatched by any country in the world,” travel five times the speed of sound and They are difficult to detect and prevent.

According to Tass, the frigate was actively involved in testing the missiles, which were designed and developed by the Research and Production Association of Machine Building, which is part of Russia’s Tactical Missile Corporation.

Its current deployment, launched on January 4, was expected to take the ship through the Mediterranean and into the Indian Ocean, Tass reported at the time.

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