Russia to Conduct Naval Exercise in the Mediterranean and Black Seas
A single plan will link fleet exercises in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. The manoeuvre plan has already been approved, sources in the Russian Ministry of Defence told Izvestia. In addition to strike and anti-submarine tasks, they will also work out rescuing people at sea and assisting ships in distress.
The Mediterranean ships' concentration should be completed in late January - early February. It is unknown whether Russian aircraft deployed in Syria at the Khmeimim airbase would take part in the Mediterranean exercises.
A combined detachment of six large landing ships (Five Project 775 and the Pyotr Morgunov of Project 11711) from the Northern and Baltic fleets has already been marked off the coast of Portugal. The missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov, the frigate Admiral of the Fleet Kasatonov, the BOD Vice-Admiral Kulakov and the tug SB-406 of the Northern Fleet, a detachment of the Pacific Fleet led by their flagship, the cruiser Varyag, passed Gibraltar Street and advanced to the Mediterranean Sea.
On the other hand, more than 20 Russian ships took part in exercises in the Black Sea. The Fleet Information Support Department said that the ships' crews would conduct exercises and training in several areas. In particular, on the organization of communications, air defence at sea, safe manoeuvring in areas with intensive navigation. Frigates, patrol ships, small missile ships and missile boats, landing ships, small anti-submarine ships, and minesweepers are involved.
The timing of exercise is critically important. West considers that Russia is preparing to attack Ukraine. At the same time, Russia conditions the West not to interfere in its zone of influence.