Russian Navy conducts firing drills in Baltic amid NATO exercise
A group of ships from Russia’s Baltic Fleet has entered the Baltic Sea to conduct an exercise, the Russian Defense Ministry reports.
The group includes the corvettes Boikiy and Stoikiy, the small missile vessels Serpukhov, Zeleny Dol, Liven and Passat, and the anti-submarine ship Alexin. They entered the Baltic in order to practice firing torpedoes, missiles and artillery against imaginary enemy ships and airborne targets.
During the drill, the ships will rehearse search and destroy procedures, electronic missile launches, and defense against a large-scale air raid.
Between 9 and 21 June, NATO is conducting the Baltops 2019 exercise in the Baltic Sea. The drill is meant to demonstrate how well the NATO forces are able to work together and defend against any enemy. Soldiers from 18 countries will participate in the drill. The Baltops exercise has been held annually since 1972.
RIA Novosti reported with reference to Russia’s Southern Military District (SMD) that Russian A-50 early warning aircraft have been relocated to Krasnodar Krai to monitor the aerial situation over the Black Sea during the NATO exercise. SMD Spokesperson Vadim Astafyev said that this will help to prevent incidents with civilian ships and aircraft, which could end up in the alliance’s exercise zone. The A-50s will be escorted by Su-27SMZ fighters.
At the start of June, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the alliance will conduct a joint exercise in the Black Sea with the Ukrainian military.