Russia is moving into the eastern Mediterranean for naval exercises

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Russia is moving into the eastern Mediterranean for naval exercises

As Moscow continues to escalate its military presence in Syria, Russia is also sending a major contingent of ships from its Black Sea Fleet to the eastern Mediterranean for military exercises.

The deployment features two guided-missile cruisers, several amphibious warships, a surveillance ship, and a landing ship, USNI News reports citing Turkish ship-spotting blog Bosphorous Naval News.

Although Russia has not announced the location of the drills, they are likely to take place in the waters between Cyprus and Syria in the eastern Mediterranean.

Russia has reportedly warned civilian aircraft away from that region, and Moscow operates at the Tartus naval base on Syria’s Mediterranean coast. Additionally, Russia’s military buildup within Syria is largely focused outside the city of Latakia, which is only slightly more than 50 miles away from the naval base.

The naval exercises are aimed at training for a range of operations, according to a statement from the Russian Ministry of Defense as provided by USNI News.

“In the course of the training activity, the Russian ships will practice organization of antisubmarine, antiship and air defence as well as search-and-rescue activities and rendering assistance to a distressed vessel,” the statement notes.

“During the exercise, the military seamen are to perform over 40 different combat tasks including missile and artillery firings at surface and aerial targets.”

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