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Russia Test Fires Anti-Ship Missiles   03/28 06:09


   MOSCOW (AP) -- Moscow test-fired anti-ship missiles in the Sea of Japan, 
Russia's Defense Ministry said Tuesday, with two boats launching a simulated 
missile attack on a mock enemy warship about 100 kilometers (60 miles) away.

   The ministry said the target was successfully hit by two Moskit cruise 

   The Moskit, whose NATO reporting name is the SS-N-22 Sunburn, is a 
supersonic anti-ship cruise missile that has conventional and nuclear warhead 
capacity. The Soviet-built cruise missile is capable of flying at a speed three 
times the speed of sound and has a range of up to 250 kilometers (155 miles).

   The ministry said the exercise, which included other warships and naval 
aircraft, took place in the Peter the Great Gulf in the Sea of Japan but did 
not give more precise coordinates. The gulf borders the Russian Pacific Fleet 
headquarters at Fokino and is about 700 kilometers (430 miles) from Japan's 
northern Hokkaido island.

   The Russian military has conducted regular drills across the country and 
Russian warships have continued maneuvers as the fighting in Ukraine has 
entered a second year -- exercises that were intended to train the troops and 
showcase the country's military capability.

   The U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet did not immediately respond to requests for 

   Japan reacted calmly to the missile exercise, which was conducted near 
Vladivostok, rather than directly into the waters between the two countries.

   Japanese Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihiko Isozaki told a news 
conference later Tuesday that Tokyo will continue to monitor Russia's military 
operations, as it has been stepping up activity in the region.

   Tokyo does not plan to lodge a protest to Russia over the missile exercise, 
said Tasuku Matsuki, Japanese Foreign Ministry official in charge of Russia, 
noting that its location -- Peter the Great Bay -- is considered Russian coast, 
though it is facing the water between the two countries.

   "On the whole, Japan is concerned about Russia's increasing military 
activities around the Japanese coasts and watching them with great interest," 
Matsuki said.

   He added that Russia has conducted missile drills in that area in the past 
and issued maritime advisories ahead of time.

   Russian nuclear-capable Tu-95 bombers flew over the Sea of Japan for several 
hours last week.

   In September, Japan protested multinational military exercises on the 
Russian-held Kuril Islands -- some of which are claimed by Japan -- and 
expressed concern about Russian and Chinese warships conducting shooting drills 
in the Sea of Japan.

   Russia also tested submarine-launched missiles in the Sea of Japan last year.

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