BEIRUT, LEBANON (9:20 A.M.) – The Russian Defense Ministry said Thursday that the Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet has sailed to carry out exercises with its full strength, in a move that has sparked the interest of US forces in the region.
In a statement, the ministry stated that the exercises include the two frigates “Admiral Grigorovich” and “Admiral Makarov”, the patrol ship “Dmitry Rogachev”, the escort ship “Petlevi”, the two small missile ships “Orekhovo-Zuevo” and “Ingushetia”, in addition to the landing ships, large and small anti-submarine ships, submarines, minesweepers and support ships.
The ships heading to the sea are escorted by helicopter and aircraft belonging to the naval aviation, while their coverage included the air defense systems of the Black Sea Fleet.
The exercises of the Russian fleet caught the attention of the United States, as a US Boeing RC-135U Combat Sent strategic reconnaissance aircraft patrolled the exercise area, according to FlightRadar. The plane took off from the airport of the NATO military base in Crete, and flew over the waters of the Black Sea, approaching the Crimean peninsula, before turning over the territory of Georgia and moving in the opposite direction.
Aircraft belonging to the United States and its European partners regularly conduct reconnaissance flights over the Black Sea and approach the Russian border. In September, a Russian Su-27 fighter jet intercepted an RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft of the US and British Air Force in the region.