Putin Fires 4 Ballistic Missiles During Russian Drills

President Vladimir Putin personally fired four ballistic missiles during tests of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces, according to the Kremlin.

Putin took part in exercises involving the nuclear triad of strategic bombers, submarines and land-based missiles located in different parts of Russia, his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters on a conference call Friday. The drills “aren’t connected with any international events and take place regularly,” Peskov said.

Tupolev long-range bombers fired cruise missiles, while Topol intercontinental ballistic missiles were launched from the Plesetsk spaceport in northern Russia, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said in a statement. Two other rockets were fired from nuclear submarines in the Pacific Ocean and Arctic Sea, and all targets were hit during Thursday’s exercises, it said.

The drills took place amid heightened international tensions after North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test last month. Russia shares a border with North Korea. Kim Jong Un’s regime has also launched more than a dozen rockets this year, including two intercontinental ballistic missiles that he claims could reach as far as the U.S. East Coast.

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SOURCE: Bloomberg, Stepan Kravchenko and Ilya Arkhipov