"In accordance with the combat training plan, missile ships and boats of the Black Sea Fleet have started to implement the 'course task,' during which the crews are confirming their readiness to perform missions at the sea by a single ship," Trukhachyov said.
In accordance with the plan, troops practiced firing from air-defense missiles and artillery systems.
The maneuvers involved the Samum hover-borne guided missile corvette, small missile ship Mirazh and missile boat R-239. In addition, Su-24M attack jets and Be-200 amphibious aircraft were involved in separate parts of the drills.
"The only explanation behind the Russian drills in Crimea is the rising tensions in the Black Sea. NATO is very active in the region, including regular naval drills and the missile defense deployment in Romania and Bulgaria. Those missile defenses are rather offensive than defensive. This is why the Russian leadership is concerned," Sivkov said.
"Russia has a formidable nuclear arsenal and neither the United States nor NATO will engage in a direct military confrontation with Moscow. However, local conflicts in separate regions are possible. In order to deter such conflicts, Russia needs to demonstrate its military power," Sivkov suggested.
The expert also noted that in recent years the area of the Black Sea has become a zone with an increased propensity for conflict.
"The Ukrainian conflict remains unsolved. The southwestern flank is crucial for Russia’s strategy security. Moreover, Georgia has unresolved territorial problems with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Nagorno Karabakh region is also close. To sum up, this is a very tense region," Sivkov concluded.
Earlier, in an interview with Radio Sputnik, member of the Crimean regional parliament Vladislav Ganzhara commented on Russia boosting defense at its southern border, calling Crimea "Russia’s unsinkable aircraft carrier."
"Russia is conducting military drills on its own land and Crimea residents feel much safer. In terms of defensive capabilities, Crimea today is an outstanding region. It is Russia’s unsinkable aircraft carrier in the Black Sea," the lawmaker said.
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