BALTIISK, September 16. /TASS/. About 20 ships and support vessels of Russia’s Baltic Fleet went to sea to perform tactical tasks of the Zapad-2017 strategic exercise, head of the Western Military District’s press service on the Baltic Fleet Captain 1st rank Roman Martov said on Saturday.
"Corvettes, small missile and anti-submarine ships, minesweepers and missile boats, and various vessels of the auxiliary fleet have formed a few tactical groupings," he said. "They are ready to fulfil task as assigned - in anti-submarine and air defense, to carry out test artillery firing on different types of targets, simulating sea and air targets."
A large-scale exercise Zapad-2017 began in Russia and Belarus on Thursday at three proving grounds in Russia and six in Belarus with 12,700 troops (7,200 Belarussian and 5,500 Russian ones taking part). Also involved in the exercise are about 70 planes and helicopters, 680 ground vehicles, including about 250 tanks, 200 artillery pieces, multiple rocket launchers and mortars and ten ships.
The main purpose of the exercise is to improve the compatibility of command and control centers, test new documentation and let commanders of all levels practice planning and control of operations on the basis of experience gained in the latest military conflicts.
The exercise will last till September 20.