By Jonny Tickle
For the first time, Russia has deployed the Bastion missile system on the island of Matua in the Pacific Ocean, the country’s Armed Forces revealed on Thursday. Bastion is a mobile defense system that can attack surface ships.
Matua is an inhabited landmass near the center of the Kuril Islands. After World War II, it came under the control of the Soviet Union. Before that, it was the home of a large Japanese base. It is now the focus of Russian efforts to boost military presence in the Pacific.
“The missile crews of the Pacific Fleet will be on round-the-clock watch on this remote island in the central part of the Kuril Ridge to control the adjacent water area and strait zones,” the Russian Eastern Military District said in a statement.
The Bastion mobile coastal missile system is armed with the Onyx supersonic self-propelled anti-ship missile. It is designed to destroy surface ships of all types.
Writing on his Telegram channel, war correspondent Alexander Kots described the island of Matua as having nothing but “the Sarychev volcano, foxes and mice.”
“The military and I explored the island length and breadth,” he wrote, noting that he visited it five years ago. “One of the aims of the expedition was to find out how the water supply of the Japanese garrison was managed. There was a whole system of channels, concrete reservoirs for rainwater, and so on. Because if you set up a base here, you need water. Apparently, this Japanese conundrum was solved.”