The Russian Air Force has been put on high alert as part of a sudden combat readiness check ordered by President Vladimir Putin. The Western media reacted to the drills with headlines accusing Moscow of preparing for war.
“Today, in accordance with the order of the [Russian] Armed Forces Supreme Commander [President Vladimir Putin] a surprise inspection of the Aerospace Forces has been launched in order to evaluate the readiness of the military authorities and troops to carry out combat training missions,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said on Tuesday, as cited by TASS.
He stressed that “special attention should be paid to the combat alert missions, deployment of the air defense systems for a time of war and the readiness of the air groupings to repel aggression.” He then ordered tactical drills at all relevant military bases and within all relevant units.
Russian Aerospace Forces bases, as well as all aviation units, were put on high alert starting 09:00 Moscow time (06:00 GMT).
Separate drills were conducted by the air defense units of Russia’s Baltic Fleet in Russia's western Kaliningrad region bordering Lithuania and Poland. During the maneuvers, the air defense units equipped with S-400 long-range surface-to-air missile systems repelled a massive attack of a simulated aggressor, involving both airstrikes and missile strikes.
The S-400 systems successfully hit all 30 air targets during the exercises, TASS reports, citing a spokesman for the Baltic Fleet.