Russia conducts sweeping naval large-scale drills amid Ukraine tensions

MOSCOW: On Wednesday, Russia's Defense Ministry announced that more than 20 Russian warships and support vessels had left their bases for manoeuvres in the Black Sea.

According to sources citing a statement made by the ministry, the naval force, which includes frigates, patrol ships, missile ships, landing ships, anti-submarine ships, and minesweepers, was travelling towards the targeted locations.

The Russian ships will rehearse communications, safe manoeuvring in areas with heavy navigation, and air defence on their route to the training, according to the statement. According to another statement, another 20 Russian warships and support vessels began large-scale training in the Baltic Sea on Monday to conduct anti-submarine, air defence, and mine-sweeping missions.

These manoeuvres took place as tensions in and around Ukraine rose, prompting the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to put forces on alert and dispatch extra ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe.

Russia has sent an undefined number of troops from the far east to its neighbour Belarus, which shares a border with Ukraine, for huge war games that will take place until February 20. According to Ukrainian officials, Moscow might launch a multi-pronged attack from Belarusian territory.

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