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Russian fleet practices sinking aircraft carrier near Hawaiian coast

The Russian destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov (BPK 543), June 21, 2021. (Russian Ministry of Defense image/Released)
June 22, 2021

Russia’s Navy practiced attacked a mock enemy carrier strike group during a massive military exercise in the Pacific Ocean last week in an apparent message to the U.S. Unconfirmed satellite images showed what appeared to be some of the Russian warships involved in the drills sailed within 35 nautical miles of Honolulu, Hawaii on June 19.

Russia’s Ministry of Defense announced its recent anti-carrier war games in a Monday press statement. Russia’s Defense Ministry said its forces “worked out the tasks of detecting, countering and delivering missile strikes against an aircraft carrier strike group of a mock enemy.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry shared footage of the warships and warplanes involved in the anti-carrier drills.

While the Russian naval drills were carried out against a mock enemy, the drills appeared intended as a message to the U.S. and came within days of U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighters of the Hawaii National Guard intercepting Russian bombers flying near Hawaii.

While the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported many of the Russian warships were operating about 300 miles west of Hawaii, other reports have indicated some of the Russian warships might have been much closer to the Hawaiian islands.

Unconfirmed satellite imagery purported to show three U.S. Navy destroyers and a U.S. Coast Guard Cutter escorting some of the Russian warships involved in the drills over the weekend. The Russian ships were reportedly operating within 35 miles of the Hawaiin islands, much closer than the rest of the Russian fleet.

“#OSINT#BMØ#Russia#USNavy#Pacific#Hawaii@USPacificFleet Large Russian navy taskforce just 35 Nautical Miles South of Honolulu Hawaii, 19-06-2021. Escorted by Three Arleigh Burke class Destroyers and a Sentinel class CoastGuard Cutter,” one Twitter user tweeted.

While not directly connecting its actions to the Russian naval drills, the U.S. Pacific Fleet also announced last week that Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 1 had moved into the Hawaiian Islands Operating Area. The Drive reported the movement of the U.S. warships near Hawaii might have been intended as a response to the recent Russian war games.

The mock Russian missile attack “was carried out from surface ships and from the air. Support to the naval strike groups was provided by two long-range anti-submarine aircraft of the naval aviation of the Pacific Fleet Tu-142Mz, which were previously relocated to the Kamchatka airfield Yelizovo, from where they flew to the training area.”

Russia said its ships the “flagship of the Pacific Fleet of the Order of Nakhimov, the guards missile cruiser Varyag, the frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov, and the corvettes Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov, Perfect and Loud” all participated in the drills along with a submarine and a Tu-142M3 long-range anti-submarine aircraft.

Russia said during the exercises, Russian aircraft also practiced searching for and tracking the movements of enemy submarines.

The latest Russian drills are not the first time a military power has carried out practice attacks in an apparent message to the U.S.

Last summer Iran constructed a replica of a U.S.-Nimitz class aircraft carrier and practiced destroying it.

In January, Chinese bombers practiced attack runs on an aircraft carrier. In April, Chinese warplanes again practiced attack runs, this time pointed in the direction of where a U.S. carrier strike group was operating. In the days after U.S. senators visited Taiwan, China also practiced missile launches with its Dongfeng DF-26 missiles, known as “carrier killers.”