The Russian military sent a clear message to the United States, Japan, and other allies in the region on Thursday, when it flew nuclear-capable bombers and other spy planes near the Korean peninsula in protest of American war games in South Korea.
According to Reuters, Russia conducted the unusual operation to coincide with the massive war simulation currently under way. The games include tens of thousands of troops and simulate an all-out war on the Korean peninsula over the span of 10 days.
Russia, which has harshly condemned the drills, sent a pair of ‘Bear’ bombers to the region, accompanied by surveillance planes.
According to the Kremlin, the planes flew over international waters in the Pacific Ocean, the East China Sea, and the Sea of Japan; forcing South Korea to scramble fighter jets to intercept the intruding aircraft.
“At certain stages of the flight route, Russian strategic missile carriers were accompanied by aircraft from the Air Force of the Republic of Korea and the Air Self-Defense Forces of Japan,” said a statement from the Russian Defense Ministry.
“The US and South Korea holding yet more large-scale military and naval exercises does not help reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” added a Kremlin spokesperson. “We urge all sides to exercise maximum caution. Given the arms build-up in the region, any rash move or even an unintended incident could spark a military conflict.”