Russian Navy conducts massive drills in Pacific before Biden-Putin meeting: report

The Russian Navy has been conducting military exercises about 300 to 500 miles west of Hawaii prompting the U.S. on Sunday to scramble F-22s to respond to long-range bombers, a report said. …

The Russian Navy has been conducting military exercises about 300 to 500 miles west of Hawaii prompting the U.S. on Sunday to scramble three F-22s to respond to long-range bombers, a report said.

CBS News, citing U.S. defense officials, reported on Tuesday that the Russian bombers never entered the Air Defense Identification Zone. The report said Russian officails called the exercise its largest in the Pacific since the Cold War. 

The U.S. Pacific Fleet and the Defense Department did not immediately respond to an after-hours email inquiry from Fox News. The exercises come just as President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin plan to meet on Wednesday during the highly anticipated summit in Geneva. 

The Russian Defense Ministry said the drills involved “up to 20 surface combatants, submarines and support vessels.”

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TASS, the Russian news agency, reported that the ships from the Primorye Flotilla of All-Arms Forces have been working on “tactical maneuvers” in the waters. The exercises began on June 10, and included the missile cruiser “Varyag,” and an anti-submarine ship “Admiral Panteleev,” Reuters reported. The report said TU-142MZ bombers were also taking part in the drill.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that the military appeared to be tight-lipped on the F-22 deployment from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, and cited an “irregular air patrol” that had been requested by the Federal Aviation Administration. A KC-135 Stratotanker was also deployed, the report said.

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“U.S. Indo-Pacific Command is monitoring the Russian vessels operating in international waters in the Western Pacific,” Capt. Mike Kafka, a spokesman, told CBS News in a statement. 

The Honolulu paper said a Russian surveillance ship last month delayed a U.S. missile defense test off Kauai. The paper said the ship was “loitering in international waters” for several days. 

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The paper, citing an official, reported that the test was delayed due to concern that the surveillance vessel would “collect on” the test.

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