The Russian Ministry of Defense will hold another drill with launching cruise and ballistic missiles. The maneuvers scheduled for Saturday, February 19, will be led by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to Interfax, military personnel of the Aerospace Forces, the Southern Military District, the Strategic Rocket Forces, as well as the Northern and Black Sea Fleets will take part in the maneuvers.
The Russian Ministry of Defense clarified that these maneuvers were planned in advance. Their main goal is "to check the readiness of military command structures, launch combat crews, and crews of warships and strategic missile carriers to perform assigned tasks."
Context. Currently, large-scale joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises Allied Resolve—2022 are in progress in Belarus. They should end on February 20th. The Beijing Winter Olympics will also end on that day. A number of US officials have previously assumed that the Kremlin would not dare to launch another attack as long as the Olympic Games continue. On the other hand, the Department of State predicted that the invasion could begin even before they end.
The White House and NATO accused Russia of increasing the number of troops amassed on the border with Ukraine, the very day after Moscow stated it had begun withdrawing some of its military units from the region. The US notes that the risk of a Russian attack on Ukraine remains very high and could happen in the next few days.