Alwaght- The Russian navy has staged major drills in the strategic Baltic sea amid increased NATO war games in the region.
More than 2,000 marines and soldiers from the 11th Army Corps of the Russian Baltic Fleet took part in the maneuver, which was held at the Khmelyovka coastal training range, Fleet Spokesman Roman Martov told reporters on Thursday.
"The drills were aimed at training the skills of seizing coastal areas and driving the enemy forces out of them," Martov said, noting that more than five tons of different munitions were used to create a more realistic environment.
Besides the relatively large number of troops, the exercises involved more than 100 pieces of military hardware, including 20 warships, boats and supply vessels as well as 12 planes and helicopters from the Baltic Fleet’s naval aircraft units, according to the spokesman.
Over the recent years, the US-led NATO military alliance has also been carrying out war games in The Baltics in what is seen as aggressive advance towards Russia’s borders.
Last month, in a move seen as countering NATO eastward expansion, China and Russia held joint naval drills in the Baltic Sea. The drills came after NATO held an annual naval exercise in June in the Baltic Sea. Some fifty ships and fifty aircraft, along with 4,000 personnel from, among others, the US, Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, and Estonia participated in the exercise that has shifted focus over the last few years towards preparing for high-end warfighting.
Speaking in June, Russian President Vladimir Putin said by encircling Russia with missile defense systems, NATO undermines the strategic balance and fuels a new arms race.