George Eustice discusses HMS Defender route
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Over 10 Russian jets took part in the exercises which simulated real combat against military grade vessels. The drills follow a threat made by Vladimir Putin earlier this week, in which the Russian president boasted he could have sunk Britain’s HMS Defender.
Russian state RIA news agency quoted Russia’s Black Sea Fleet as saying: “Aircraft crews … conducted training flights over the Black Sea, practicing missile and bombing strikes against simulated enemy ships.”
The fleet added the warplanes came from its aviation units and southern military district.
RIA News reported several different aircraft had taken part in the exercises, including Sukhoi Su-30SM multi-purpose fighters, Sukhoi Su-24M bombers, Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers and Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets.
Russia’s most recent drills follow a surge in tensions between London and Moscow after HMS Defender passed through the waters near Crimea.
According to the Russian Black Sea Fleet, warning shots were fired and bombs dropped in the vessel’s path.
However, the British Defence Ministry has denied this version of events.
During his annual Q&A, Vladimir Putin rejected the notion the world stood on the edge of World War 3.
“Even if we had sunk the ship it is hard to imagine that the world would have been on the verge of World War Three because those doing it [the provocation] know that they could not emerge as victors from such a war,” said Mr Putin.
“We are on our land. We’re fighting for ourselves and our future.”
The Russian drill also follows on from recent NATO war games in the Black Sea.
32 countries took part in the Sea Breeze naval operations on Monday last week, despite strong criticism from Moscow.
It is believed the military exercises involved around 5,000 troops, around 30 ships and 40 aircraft from NATO and other allies.
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Russia’s Defence Ministry warned it was monitoring the training exercises and that it would respond to any threats to national security if necessary.
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