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Russian bombers carry out Black Sea drills

July 3, 2021

Russia's Black Sea Fleet says the exercises involved strikes against simulated enemy ships. NATO vessels are also carrying out drills in the region, prompting a stern response from Moscow.

A Russian Sukhoi Su-30SM
A Russian Sukhoi Su-30SMImage: picture-alliance/dpa/Tass/V. Nevar

Russian fighter jets practiced bombing enemy ships in the Black Sea on Saturday, as NATO, Ukraine and allies carry out their large-scale Sea Breeze drills in the area.

Russia's Black Sea Fleet said more than 10 warplanes from its aviation units and those of the southern military district had participated in the exercises.

"Aircraft crews ... conducted training flights over the Black Sea, practicing missile and bombing strikes against simulated enemy ships," it was quoted as saying by the Russian state RIA news agency.

What aircraft took part in the Russian drills?

Russia deployed several aircraft for the exercises, including Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-purpose fighters, Sukhoi Su-24M bombers, Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers and Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets, the report said.

Russia has closed a number of areas in the Black Sea to transit until the end of October, such as near the Crimean peninsula which Russia annexed in 2014.

Last week, the UK's HMS Defender passed through waters near Crimea.

The Russian fleet said warning shots were fired and bombs dropped in the British warship's path.

The British Defense Ministry denied that any such incident had taken place.

Moscow said it could bomb British naval vessels if they continue such actions.


What NATO drills are taking place?

The Black Sea has been the stage for rising tensions between Russia and NATO in the past few weeks.

The military alliance this week began itsSea Breeze naval operations involve around 5,000 military personnel from NATO and other allies, and around 30 ships and 40 aircraft.

The US missile destroyer USS Ross and the US Marine Corps are also taking part.

German Air Force pilots were roped in for air policing duties, along with the British Air Force.

Moscow had called for the drills, which are expected to last two weeks, to be canceled.

Russia's Defense Ministry said it would respond to any threats to national security if necessary, adding that it was monitoring the training.

mvb/mm (Reuters, dpa)