Russian navy practises striking Black Sea targets as Ukraine, US hold drills

MOSCOW – Russia’s navy practised firing at targets in the Black Sea off the of annexed Crimea using its Bastion coastal missile defence system, Russia’s Defence Ministry said on Thursday (Sept 23) as Ukraine held joint military drills with the United States.

The exercises in Ukraine involving US and other Nato troops are set to run until Oct 1. They follow huge war games staged by neighbouring Russia and Belarus earlier this month that alarmed the West.

Kyiv’s relations with Moscow plummeted in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and backed pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine’s Donbass region. The seven-year conflict with separatists has killed more than 13,000 people.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet practised detecting and destroying sea targets with its Bastion system, an advanced mobile anti-ship and surface-to-surface defence system, the Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Divisions were shown carrying out strikes with truck-mounted missiles in footage released by the Defence Ministry.

Crews fired from concealed positions and used drones to track a simulated enemy group of ships, it said.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has said the Bastion system can hit sea targets at a distance of 350km and land targets at a distance of 450km.

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