For weeks Russia has mustered a large fleet and aerial assets in the Pacific Ocean near Hawaii in what’s been widely recognized as Russia’s largest Pacific military drills since the end of the Cold War. The Pentagon has closely monitored the somewhat unprecedented exercises which have seen at least 20 warships, submarines, fighter jets, and long-range bombers operating a mere 300 miles off Hawaii’s coast.
But in a new alarming statement the US Navy is confirming that at one point Russian vessels and aircraft came a mere 35 miles off Hawaii’s coast as the massive war games were underway. While stressing that the foreign military assets stayed within international waters, spokesman for US Indo-Pacific Command Navy Capt. Mike Kafka, said, “At the closest point, some ships operated approximately 20 to 30 nautical miles (23 to 34 statute miles) off the coast of Hawaii,” he said. “We closely tracked all vessels.”
New details of Russian maneuvers during the course of the exercises suggest there were multiple “close calls” – also as days ago the Pentagon scrambled F-22 stealth fighters, which remain on standby.
The Russian side is now divulging that its military undertook mock attacks on a simulated aircraft carrier strike group.
First, as the Honolulu Star Advertiser has detailed, armed US fighters twice responded to the area amid a heightened state of alert over the Russian war games:
The deployment of Russian “Bear” bombers as part of the exercise twice resulted in missile-armed Hawaii Air National Guard F-22 fighters scrambling to possibly intercept the turboprop planes — which headed in the direction of Hawaii but never came close, officials said.
The report continues: “The Hawaii Air Guard stealth jets launched June 13 and again on Friday, but no intercepts were conducted with the Russian planes likely turning away from the path toward the state, according to an account of the launch.”
Russia’s defense ministry has lately issued multiple short official videos of its large force in action near Hawaii…
Again, since the formal end of the exercises it’s emerging based on independent satellite image analysis that some of the Russian military assets were engaged in operations much closer to the United States’ sovereign territory than previously thought.
“Russia says that they are 300 miles off the coast of Hawaii, yet unconfirmed satellite images from June 19 appear to show them much closer – within 35 miles of the U.S. state,” The Daily Mail observes. The newest US Pacific-Command statement has since confirmed this proximity of at least some of the Russian assets.