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Russian Navy kicks off large-scale drills in Baltic Sea

The drill takes place on August 1-9

MOSCOW, August 1. /TASS/. About 70 combat ships and support vessels and 58 aircraft of the Russian Navy and the Aerospace Force are taking part in the Ocean Shield 2019 drills in the Baltic Sea, Russia’s Defense Ministry reported on Thursday.

The Ocean Shield naval drills will run on August 1-9 in the Baltic Sea under the direction of Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov, the ministry said.

"Overall, the drills involve 49 warships and combat craft, 20 support vessels, 58 aircraft of the Navy and the Aerospace Force and 10,634 personnel of the Russian Armed Forces," the ministry issued a statement.

The naval grouping mostly comprises warships and vessels that took part in Russia’s Main Naval Parade in St. Petersburg and Kronshtadt on July 28, the ministry added.

The drills will practice the deployment of the Navy’s inter-fleet grouping and the skills of commanding the fleet’s forces. It will also check the Navy’s preparedness for defending Russia’s national interests.

The Russian Navy held its first Ocean Shield drills in the country's modern history last year in the Mediterranean Sea. They ran on September 1-8, 2018 and involved 26 combat ships, two submarines, 34 aircraft of the Russian Navy and the Aerospace Force. As part of the naval maneuvers, the sailors practiced missile live-fire from the warships, helicopters and aircraft. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that the large-scale Ocean Shield drills involving naval forces and aircraft would be held on a regular basis.