Russian navy ships have conducted joint exercises with the air force in the Mediterranean Sea, the Russian defence ministry said on Monday. The ships repelled an attack by a conventional opponent and practised air defence tasks.
As part of the exercise, MiG-31K fighter jets armed with Kinzhal (Kindzhal) hypersonic missiles conducted training flights. Among the ships taking part in the exercises are the missile cruiser Moskva, the frigates Admiral Essen and Admiral Makarov. Among others, Tu-142MK and Il-38 long-range reconnaissance, detection and anti-submarine warfare aircraft and Tu-22M3 long-range bombers were engaged in joint training.
Russian military ships and aviation have been conducting joint exercises in the Mediterranean since 25 June. The tasks the forces performed on Monday are related to ensuring the security of the Hmejmim airbase in Syria and Russia’s naval base in the port of Tartus, the defence ministry said.
The exercises were launched shortly after an incident in the Black Sea involving the British warship Defender in the area of the Crimea annexed by Russia. The Russian authorities said the ship had violated the national border on 23 June and Russian forces had fired warning shots. The UK government has denied these reports.