Moscow last week it challenged HMS Defender’s right to traverse waters near Crimea, something London said it had every right to do. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, but most of the world still recognizes it as part of Ukraine.
Russia said the ship had illegally entered its territorial waters and accused London of a “provocation”. Moscow has said it could bomb British warships if there are more such actions by the British navy off Crimea.
On Saturday, the Russian Black Sea fleet said fighter jets from its aviation units and those from the southern military district had participated in training drills.
“Aircraft crews conducted training flights over the Black Sea, practicing missile attacks and bombardments against simulated enemy ships,” the RIA news agency said.
The drills involved aircraft including Sukhoi Su-30SM multipurpose fighters, Sukhoi Su-24M bombers, Sukhoi Su-34 fighter-bombers and Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jets, according to the report.
The exercise comes as NATO, Ukraine and their allies conduct their large-scale Sea Breeze drills in the region.
Those drills are scheduled to last two weeks and will involve some 5,000 military personnel from NATO and other allies, and about 30 ships and 40 aircraft, with the US missile destroyer USS Ross and the US Marine Corps participating.
Moscow had called for the exercise to be canceled and the Russian Defense Ministry has said it will react to safeguard national security if necessary.