The Russian Navy held its biggest naval exercise for more than a decade in January. The war games in the Mediterranean and Black Seas involved the Northern, Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific Fleets conducting more than 60 joint training missions. The inter-fleet warships taking part were headed by the imposing Black Sea Fleet flagship, RFS Moskva, along with the destroyers Severomorsk and Smetlivy, and the frigate Yaroslav Mudry.
The exercise was to test the ships’ ability to act together outside Russian waters. Moscow has been trying to strengthen its military presence in the Mediterranean region, where its only overseas base is in Syria. So it was timely that the landing ships Saratov, Azov, Kaliningrad and Alexandr Shabalin carried out amphibious landings of troops on to an unprepared coast.