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.
#OSINT #BMØ #Russia #USNavy #Pacific #Hawaii @USPacificFleet Large Russian navy taskforce just 35 Nautical Miles South of Honolulu Hawaii, 19-06-2021. Escorted by Three Arleigh Burke class Destroyers and a Sentinel class CoastGuard Cutter. pic.twitter.com/OBHE3iS3xb— OSINT-1 (@OSINT_1) June 20, 2021
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."
And the hugely provocative details of the simulated carrier sinking put out by Russia's defense ministry were detailed in The Drive as follows:
The Russian Ministry of Defense today published an account about the Pacific Fleet maneuvers, which are described as having practiced "the tasks of destroying an aircraft carrier strike group of a mock enemy."
A simulated cruise missile strike was carried out by the Pacific Fleet flagship, the Slava class cruiser Varyag (pictured above), as well as the Udaloy class destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov, and the Steregushchiy class corvettes Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov, Gromky, and Sovershenniy.
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.
A number of Western pundits underscored that the large-scale Russian games were meant as a serious muscle-flexing "message" to President Biden just as he met with Vladimir Putin in Geneva last Wednesday.
Despite the US fighters being scrambled off Hawaii's coast and remaining on stanby, Biden never publicly addressed the threat, though it's unknown if he broached the issue with Putin directly in the closed-door talks.
The U.S. scrambled three F-22 stealth fighter jets from Hawaii on Sunday in an unscheduled flight that may have been in response to the presence of a Russian Navy exercise https://t.co/qcFvmOAREK— Newsweek (@Newsweek) June 16, 2021
What's more is that a Russian spy ship has remained in the regional waters near the US islands, according to Hawaiian news sources which detailed its presence Monday.
No doubt, US Pacific-Command forces are still on a high state of alert, monitoring for any remaining Russian military maneuvers in the area.