The Russian navy on Wednesday began a military exercise in the Black Sea ahead of the expected arrival of US warships in the area, Russian news agencies reported.
The drills involve surface ships from Russia’s Black Sea fleet, which is based in Crimea, as well as helicopters and planes. The drills will rehearse firing at surface and air targets, agencies said.
Two US warships are due to arrive in the Black Sea this week as Washington and NATO sound the alarm over a large build-up of Russian forces near Ukraine and in Crimea.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Moscow has warned the expected US warships to stay well away from Crimea “for their own good”, calling their deployment in the Black Sea a provocation designed to test Russian nerves.