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Moscow announces naval drills in East Mediterranean

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
This photo taken in Sevastopol on July 26, 2015 shows sailors of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. (AFP photo)

Moscow has announced plans for naval drills in the "East Mediterranean" region around Syria.

Russia's Defense Ministry said on Thursday that the exercises will be held in September and October and include three warships from Russia's Black Sea Fleet.

The Saratov landing ship, the Moskva guided-missile cruiser and the Smetlivy destroyer are to take part in the drills, the ministry said in a statement.

The military exercises will involve "40 combat exercises, including rocket and artillery fire at sea and airborne targets," the statement added.

The ministry said the drill was not related to the conflict in Syria.

File photo of Russian Kashin-class guided missile destroyer, Smetlivy


This is while the United States says Russia has sent troops, tanks and fighter jets to Syria in recent weeks, expressing worries about a Russian military buildup there.

Russia says any support by Moscow for Syria is in line with existing military contracts, adding that Russian military personnel have been deployed to train Syrian forces.

The four-and-a-half year conflict in Syria has claimed some 250,000 lives, reports say.



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