The Russian navy has reportedly launched a supersonic anti-ship cruise missile in the Black Sea during an exercise coinciding with the first visit by a Legend-class US Coast Guard patrol cutter in 13 years.
The test-firing of the Vulkan missile comes shortly before the arrival of two Royal Navy warships amid mounting tensions in Ukraine over fears of a possible Russian invasion.
Russian authorities said the cruiser Moskva “fired the Vulkan missile from the vessel’s main Basalt missile system for the first time in modern history,” according to East2West News.
Naval sources told the outlet that a surface target was hit at a distance of 19 miles.
The US condemned Russian authorities for sealing off a large area of the sea with 20 ships and blocking foreign vessels during the launch, according to the report.
Footage of the drill by the flagship of the Black Sea fleet was released by the Defense Ministry in a show of success — in contrast to a botched launch when a Kalibr missile misfired and almost hit the Marshal Shaposhnikov destroyer in the Sea of Japan.
Earlier this week, the US Coast Guard cutter Hamilton entered the Black Sea.
“The Black Sea Fleet’s Moskva missile cruiser for the first time in recent history fired the Vulkan missile with the ship’s Bazalt main missile system in the waters of the Black Sea,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a tweet.
“These missiles are the reason why our cruiser is called ‘aircraft carrier-killer,’” a Zvezda correspondent said from the deck during the launch, the Moscow Times reported.