Russia holds military drills in occupied Crimea, Black Sea

16 December 2021, 08:31 PM

Russia held joint military drills of naval fighter aircraft and bombers in the waters off the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territory of Crimea, the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service reported on Dec. 16.

The scenario for the drills involved locating a hostile surface vessel with saboteurs on board in the Black Sea.

One of Russia’s own patrol warships, the frigate Ladniy, played the part of the hostile vessel.

The drills saw a group of Russian navy aircraft and and aircraft from the Russian Black Sea Fleet Air Defense unit carry out mock air strikes on the hostile warship.

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The first stage of drills saw the crews of Su-30SM multipurpose fighter aircraft and Su-24M front-line bombers practice missile and bomb strikes on the surface target, the report says.

In the second stage, a Bastion coastal defense missile system targeted the hostile vessel and carried out simulated missile launches against it.

Over 200 servicemen, four Su-30SM fighter aircraft, two Su-24M front-line bombers, and a Bastion division that is part of the Black Sea Fleet missile and artillery unit took part in the drills.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces on Dec. 10 reported that Russia had closed off about 70 percent of the Azov Sea, which is bordered by Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Crimea, the coast of mainland Ukraine, and Russian coastal areas.

Russia said the closure of the sea area was being done in preparation for artillery exercises not far from the Ukrainian coastal cities of Mariupol, Berdiansk and Henichesk.

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