The Russian military has begun a naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean, off the coast of Syria, to test its ability to deal with "crisis situations caused by terrorist threats," according to a statement by the Russian Defense Ministry.
The maneuvers in the Mediterranean
are held in accordance to the combat training plan of the Russian Navy. The live-fire exercise comes while Russian forces are actively involved in fighting in Syria, where Russia maintains its only naval base in the Mediterranean.
The exercise will include "artillery and missile firing in conditions close(ly) resembling" actual combat, the ministry's statement said.
Ships involved in the exercise include two corvettes, the Serpukhov and Zeleny Dol, armed with cruise missiles Russia used last year to hit Islamic State targets in Syria. That was an important first for Russian military technology.
Only a handful of countries have sea-launched cruise missiles, which can hit with extreme precision at very long range, and Russia lagged
far behind the US and the UK in this regard. Last year, the debut of the missiles, called Kalibr, against Islamic State showed Russia can match the Americans and their allies in an important military capability.
Capabilities of the Fleet forces for actions connected with settling crisis situations caused by terrorist threats will be inspected in course of the tactic exercise.