A Look at Russia's Missile Shield Amid Ongoing Tensions Between US, North Korea

© Photo : Russian Defense MinistryRussian Air Defense Forces
Russian Air Defense Forces - Sputnik International
Russian forces in the Far East region continue their duties as usual and have not been placed on alert despite the recent spike in tensions over North Korea.

"The Russian Armed Forces in the Far East, including air defense units, are serving as usual. No orders to switch to increased combat readiness have been made," a source in the Eastern Military District told Sputnik on Friday.

This statement refuted an earlier claim by Russian senator Viktor Ozerov, who told Sputnik that air defense systems in the Far East were put on a state of high alert amid the rising tensions over the Korean Peninsula.

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Over the recent week, the United States and North Korea have exchanged a series of warmongering statements.

Russia has repeatedly voiced concern over the escalation on the Korean peninsula. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday that Russia opposes North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons, adding that the risk of the Washington-Pyongyang conflict turning into a war is "very high."

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have recently intensified due to North Korea's multiple nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches conducted in violation of UN Security Council resolutions. Last month, Pyongyang conducted two missile tests. According to the Pentagon, both test-launches involved intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). At the same time, the Russian Defense Ministry disputed the claim, saying that the missiles were mid-range.

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Nevertheless, Russia’s forces in the Far East are ready for any scenario of the possible confrontation on the Korean Peninsula. In particular, there is always the risk that a North Korean missile may fly toward Russia due to a technical glitch or a miscalculation in its target coordinates.

Russia’s sky in the region is protected by the 11th air and missile defense command headquartered in Khabarovsk. It is one of the most capable and advanced units within the Russian military.

Vladivostok is home to the 93rd air-defense division including four S-300PS air and missile defense systems divisions and two S-400 divisions. Together they have a total of nearly 50 launchers.

In addition, the 25th air-defense division is stationed in Komsomolsk-on-Amur. The unit has eight S-300PS divisions and two S-300V divisions, comprising a total of 80 missile launchers.

Despite the fact that the missile shield of the 11th army is supposed to repel potential attacks from the east and protect the Pacific Fleet, it can still operate in the Korean direction.

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Furthermore, the Pacific Fleet is able to be part of an integrated air and missile defense system. Its flagship, the Varyag missile cruiser, is armed with the Fort air-defense system (the ship-based version of the S-300). The system has an operational range of up to 200 kilometers and an altitude of up to 27 km.

The Pacific Fleet also includes the 1,532nd missile regiment stationed in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. It has three S-400 missile systems divisions.

"The missile shield in Russia’s Far East doesn’t have the potential to intercept ICBMs. At the same time, the S-300 and S-400 systems deployed in the region would easily intercept North Korean midrange missiles," Russian military expert Mikhail Khodarenok told Sputnik.

The expert pointed out that in order to quickly detect the launch of a ballistic missile it is necessary to use the assets of the Aerospace Forces, including early warning system satellites.

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