MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian navy conducted major war games near Alaska involving dozens of ships and aircraft, the military said Friday, the biggest such drills in the area since Soviet times.
Russia’s navy chief, Adm. Nikolai Yevmenov, said that more than 50 warships and about 40 aircraft were taking part in the exercise in the Bering Sea, which involved multiple practice missile launches.
“We are holding such massive drills there for the first time ever,” Yevmenov said in a statement released by the Russian Defense Ministry.
It wasn’t immediately clear when the exercises began or if they had finished.
Yevmenov emphasized that the war games are part of Russia’s efforts to boost its presence in the Arctic region and protect its resources.
“We are building up our forces to ensure the economic development of the region,” he said. “We are getting used to the Arctic spaces.”
The Russian military has rebuilt and expanded numerous facilities across the polar region in recent years, revamping runways and deploying additional air defense assets.