A group of 14 Russian Navy ships transited the La Pérouse Strait from the western Pacific Ocean to the Sea of Japan ahead of Russian military exercises due to begin next week, Japan’s Ministry of Defense said on Monday. Defense.
On Saturday, four Russian ships were spotted sailing west in an area 161 miles east-northeast of La Pérouse Strait. The MoD release form identified the ship as an RFS destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov (543) and RFS corvettes Gremyashchiy (337), RFS Soverhennyy (333) and RFS Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov (339). On Sunday, ten more Russian ships were seen sailing west in an area 50 miles east-northeast of La Pérouse Strait. These ships included RFS corvettes Metel (323), RFS MPK-221 (354), RFS R-14 (924), RFS R-18 (937), RFS R-11 (940) and RSF R-19 (978), RFS Missile Range Instrumentation Ship Marshal Krylov (331), a Dubna-class supply ship, hospital ship Irtysh and a Sliva-class tug.
The ships then sailed west into the Sea of Japan, followed by the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) JS fast attack craft. Kumataka (PG-827) and P-3C Orions Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) from Fleet Air Wing Station 2 at JMSDF Hachinohe Air Base, Honshu.
The La Pérouse Strait is an international waterway that separates the Russian island of Sakhalin and the Japanese island of Hokkaido. The strait is regularly transited by ships of the Russian Pacific Fleet moving between the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk, with both seas being part of the fleet’s operational areas. Japan is closely monitoring the activities of nearby Russian and Chinese vessels. Japan’s then-Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi said in June that the actions of the Russian and Chinese Navy surface action groups operating around Japan during that month were designed to anger Tokyo.
The 14 Russian ships are assigned to Russia’s Pacific Fleet and are likely heading for participation in the strategic military exercise Vostok-2022 which will run from August 30 to September 5. On July 28, Japan asked Russia not to carry out the exercises in the four southern Kuril Islands claimed by Japan and occupied by Russia. China announced earlier this month that it would take part in the Russian exercise alongside India, Belarus, Tajikistan and Mongolia.
“The participation of the Chinese military in the exercise is not related to the current international and regional situation, but aims to deepen practical and friendly cooperation with the militaries of participating countries, improve the level of strategic coordination and build capacity to deal with various security threats,” the August 17 statement said.
On Monday, the JSO said on Sunday, the Russian corvette RFS Gromky (335) was spotted sailing east about 168 miles west of Fukue Island, then sailing north through the Tsushima Strait in the Sea of Japan. JS Fast Attack Ship Shirataka (PG-829) and a JMSDF P-1 MPA from Fleet Air Wing 4 stationed at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Honshu watched the Russian corvette and reported that the ship was sighted sailing southwest through the strait of Tsushima on August 12. Gromky had sailed to Qingdao in China to compete in the Sea Cup competition which started on August 17 and ended on Sunday. The Sea Cup is a competition between surface ships and is part of the 2022 International Military Games hosted by Russia which ends on August 26.