Russia’s Grom-2019 (“Thunder-2019”) strategic exercise conducted from October 15-17 in the Arctic can be described as “a rehearsal of all-out nuclear war” according to Alexander Golts, editor-in-chief of the Russian online magazine Yezhednevny Zhurnal (Daily Journal).
As reported previously by the Russian Defense Ministry, the exercise involved troops from all four of Russia’s military districts and its Northern Fleet. During the training maneuvers, the Russian military practiced “deploying groups of strategic forces, preparing them to use long-range precision weapons, and providing comprehensive combat support in deployment areas”.
No foreign troops were involved in the exercise. However, Major General Yevgeny Ilyin, acting head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s main directorate for international military cooperation, held a press conference for the military attaches of other countries, informing them about the maneuvers. He stressed that this was done in order to “avoid incidents during the military activity and prevent the misinterpretation of the actions”.
In Golts’s opinion, the announced scale of the exercise leaves no room for “misinterpretation”.
“We’re talking about rehearsing ways to conduct all-out nuclear war. Such a war will start with the use of non-strategic forces (cruise missiles) and end with a mass nuclear strike, which will mean the death of everything living on Planet Earth,” the journalist believes.
On Thursday, the Russian Armed Forces launched both cruise missiles and ballistic missiles from submarines in the North and Pacific Fleets. Missile submarines operating in the Barents and Okhotsk seas destroyed targets at the Kura and Chizha test ranges in Kamchatka and the Arkhangelsk region. Tu-95MS long-range aircraft were also activated during the drill. The testing of Russia’s nuclear triad was supervised by President Vladimir Putin.
A video published online shows the Russian leader arriving at the National Defense Management Center, from where the launches were controlled. There he met with Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu.
The clip also shows a missile being launched, presumably an intercontinental ballistic missile from a Yars launcher. The missile was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome and destroyed a target at the Kura test range in Kamchatka.