Russia Carries Out Massive Military Drills in Black Sea Amid Ukraine Crisis

Russia ramped up war drills in the Black Sea even as the tensions over 'looming' Ukraine invasion mounted. According to the latest reports, more than 20 Russian warships and supporting vessels have left their bases for exercises in the Black Sea.

Russia's Defence Ministry said on Wednesday that the naval group, which consists of frigates, patrol ships, missile ships, landing ships, anti-submarine ships and minesweepers, was sailing towards the designated areas.

NATO Reinforces Presence

The move came days after NATO members increased military activities in Eastern Europe amid tensions regarding Ukraine, despite Russia's warning that strengthened presence of the alliance near its borders are a "national security threat".

russian warship
Russia's Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier Wikimedia commons

In the past days, Denmark, Spain, France, and the Netherlands have been sending or planning to send ships, planes or troops to NATO's deployments in Eastern Europe, reports Xinhua news agency.

On the way to the drills, the Russian vessels will practice communications, safe maneuvers in areas with intensive navigation, and air defence, it added.

On Monday, another 20 Russian warships and supporting vessels started large-scale drills in the Baltic Sea to carry out anti-submarine, air defence and mine-sweeping tasks, according to another statement.

Russia, Ukraine map
Russia, Ukraine map wikimedia commons

These drills came as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization was putting forces on standby and sending additional ships and fighter jets to Eastern Europe as tensions in and around Ukraine had escalated.

Earlier this week, the US Department of Defense announced that some 8,500 troops have been put on heightened alert for a possible deployment due to escalating tensions on the Russia-Ukraine border, but there is no decision on formal deployments.