Russian naval drills kick off in Baltic Sea

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Russia on Thursday kicked off large-scale Ocean Shield-2019 naval exercises in the Baltic Sea, the country’s Defence Ministry announced.

A total of 49 ships and combat boats, 20 support vessels, 58 aircraft of the Navy and the Aerospace Force, as well as 10,634 personnel, are participating in the drills, the Ministry said in a statement.

The exercises will continue until August 9. The main task of the drills led by Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Nikolai Yevmenov is to practice the deployment of the inter-fleet grouping of the Navy, Xinhua news agency reported.

Another task is to check the readiness of the Navy to protect national interests and the managing skills of its commanders, it said.

Russia held its first Ocean Shield drills in September 2018 in the Mediterranean.