A Russian warship armed with advanced hypersonic missiles completed a drill in the Atlantic Ocean, ahead of joint naval exercises with the Chinese and South African navies scheduled for next month, the Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
Russia’s Admiral Gorshkov frigate, armed with Zircon hypersonic missiles, practiced “delivering a missile strike against an enemy surface target,” the ship’s commander Igor Krokhmal said in a video released by the ministry.
The exercise, described by state news agency Tass as an “electronic launch” or virtual simulation, confirmed the “designed characteristics” of the missile system, said Krokhmal, who pointed to the missiles’ purported ability to reach distances of more than 900 kilometers (559 miles).
The test was part of a long voyage of the Admiral Gorshkov frigate launched earlier this month, when Russian state media said the warship was dispatched with the hypersonic missiles. The deployment will also include joint training with the Chinese and South African navies off the coast of South Africa, according to Moscow and Pretoria.
The exercises come as Russia nears the first anniversary of its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and marks both a show of force and — with the joint exercises — an opportunity for Moscow to show it is not isolated on the world stage, despite wide international condemnation of its unprovoked war.
The White House on Monday said the US “has concerns about any country … exercising with Russia while Russia wages a brutal war against Ukraine.”
During a joint meeting in Pretoria Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor defended the naval drills, with Lavrov saying Moscow does not want any so-called “scandals” regarding the exercises.
Read more here.