Just days after media reports on Russia’s naval buildup in the Mediterranean Sea first emerged, the country’s defense ministry on Thursday announced a large-scale drill in the Mediterranean.
Prior to the defense ministry’s announcement, the Russian Navy was said to have a little over ten warships sailing off the coast of Syria as the country’s president Bashar al-Assad prepares an operation against rebel positions in the northern Idlib province.
According to the TASS news agency, the naval exercise which is set to start on September 1 will involve 25 warships and some 30 aircraft.
Participating units will take part in anti-air and anti-submarine warfare maneuvers in addition to mine countermeasure operations. The exercise is scheduled to conclude on September 8.
The naval units, led by guided-missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov, will be joined by Tu-160 bombers and Su-33 and Su-30SM fighter jets in addition to other aircraft.