Russian Fighter Jets Kick Off Air Missile Drills Above Barents Sea
Russia’s Central Military District’s MiG-31 Foxhound fighters are developing response training to air missile strikes during military drills, Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia’s Central Military District’s MiG-31 Foxhound interceptor aircraft are conducting military drills over the Barents Sea, testing responses to air missile strikes, the Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday.
“The flight-tactical exercise with the crews of MiG-31 fighter-interceptors was launched in the Perm Region at the Sokol Airbase. In the coming days, two squads of aircraft will be redeployed to the Monchegorsk airport (Murmansk Region), making a flight distance of 1,500 kilometers (932 miles). The flights to intercept ‘enemy’ missiles and aircraft will take place from there,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
According to the statement, the pilots will hold drills until March 6, using air-to-air missiles.
On Wednesday, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russia does not rule out the possibility of protecting its national interests in the Arctic region by military means.
Russia’s revised military doctrine, signed by President Vladimir Putin in December 2014, named the protection of national interests in the Arctic among the main priorities for its army in times of peace, for the first time ever.
Portions of the Arctic region, including the Barents Sea, have long been disputed because of their natural resources and shipping potential, with ice loss opening new shipping routes and enabling further petroleum exploration possibilities.
In 2010, following 40 years of negotiations between Norway and Russia, the countries’ then-leaders Dmitry Medvedev and Jens Stoltenberg announced that a breakthrough agreement on the Barents Sea boundary had been reached, opening large, previously legally impassable territories for hydrocarbon exploration.
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