On February 25, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that it had concluded drills in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.
More than 20 vessels of the Russian Navy took part in the large-scale drills which began around ten days earlier. Tu-22M3 strategic bombers and MiG-31K fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles also participated in the drills. The warplanes were deployed in Hmeimim Air Base on the Syrian coast.
The Russian Ministry of Defense released footage showing a large naval formation of all the vessels that took part in the drills.
The drills were likely meant as a warning to the NATO ahead of the Russian military operation in Ukraine. Currently, the NATO maintains a total of three carrier strike groups are situation in the Mediterranean Sea; the US Harry Truman carrier strike group integrated with the French carrier Charles de Gaulle’s task force and Italian carrier Cavour strike groups.
The Russian Navy expanded its operations like never before following the beginning of Russian counter-terrorism operations in Syria more than six years ago.
Tartus Naval Base and Hmeimim Air Base on the Syrian coast remain the cornerstone of Russian military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.