Is Russia gearing up for war in its Far East amid Korea flare-up?

additional drills are taking place in the Far East and the readiness of personnel for a war on Russia's border is being verified. Photo: A serviceman of the Eastern Military District.

additional drills are taking place in the Far East and the readiness of personnel for a war on Russia's border is being verified. Photo: A serviceman of the Eastern Military District.

Evgeny Yepanchintsev/RIA Novosti
Against the background of rising tension on the Korean Peninsula, Russia's air defense system has been put on a heightened state of alert, and some media are reporting that hardware is being deployed to the border with North Korea. Is Russia gearing up to engage in conflict with North Korea?

"Russia is following developments in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea very closely," according (in Russian) to Viktor Ozerov, chairman of the defense committee in the Federation Council. He added that the government does not believe Russian territory will not be targeted by any potential North Korean missile launches.

"On the other hand, weapons are weapons, and our military is doing everything in its power to prevent accidental missile strikes against Russian territory should an unorthodox situation arise," he continued.

To this end, additional drills are taking place in the Far East and the readiness of personnel for a war on Russia's border is being verified.

What does 'heightened' combat readiness of air defenses mean?

"A North Korean missile could be carried towards us 'on the wind.' In order to prevent this from happening, all officers of air defense units in the Far East have been recalled from leave and are on call to be able to return to their posts at a moment's notice," RBTH was told by the Izvestia newspaper's military analyst Alexei Ramm.

The S-400 systems have been additionally deployed in the region as a result. They specialize, among other things, in destroying enemy ballistic missiles at a range of 400 km.

According to Ramm, the systems have previously been on standby. They monitored the skies and tracked targets. But now they are ready, when ordered, to instantly shoot down an enemy missile.

"Additional munitions for anti-missile defense have correspondingly been prepared and brought out of depots. All air defense systems and mechanisms are also actively being checked," the analyst added.

Rumors of hardware deployment to border with North Korea

In late April, residents of the Russian Far East began to send one another videos apparently showing the military transferring heavy equipment via Khabarovsk to Maritime Territory towards the borders with North Korea.

"You say that all the news from Korea is a load of rubbish. But today, Easter Sunday (April 16), there have already been three trains carrying hardware. So things are not that simple. It seems something is brewing over there on the border with Korea after all," the author of the video says off screen. Source: Olga Domanova

"You say that all the news from Korea is a load of rubbish. But today, Easter Sunday (April 16), there have already been three trains carrying hardware. So things are not that simple. It seems something is brewing over there on the border with Korea after all," the author of the video says off screen.

But, according to the chief of the press service of the Eastern Military District, Alexander Gordeyev, the hardware was being moved for a drill that ended on April 29.

"I can't account for every specific train, but today hardware is basically being redeployed from one region to another in connection with planned verification checks regarding the results of the winter drill period," the Defense Ministry spokesman is quoted by the Maritime Territory media as saying.

He said troops were being moved to new training sites and were rehearsing combat tasks in unfamiliar terrain. "We ended a check of this kind recently in the Trans-Baikal region. Most probably the train is returning hardware to its place of permanent disposition," said (in Russian) Gordeyev.

Will Russia get involved in a war?

Experts believe it improbable that units and formations will be used in a direct operational role — but it is important to check the combat readiness of troops in order to be prepared for any scenario on the borders.

"Such checks are conducted in many ways — advancing to places of deployment, deployment of systems, the start of mass monitoring of airborne targets, and the transmission of data to command posts to allow decisions to be taken. These are the ordinary and traditional military measures taken the world over during any military drill or in the event of military operations near the borders of a state," RBTH was told by Vadim Kozyulin, professor at the Academy of Military Sciences.

At the same time, the expert believes that even if the military have to shoot down a North Korean missile, Moscow will not enter a war on the Korean Peninsula.

"We will issue a note of protest and take the usual political and diplomatic steps that are traditional in such circumstances, but we'll keep out of a big war," Kozyulin added.

Read more: Korean War: How the MiG-15 put an end to American mastery over the skies>>>

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