The Russian Navy kicked off Oceanic Shield-2020 naval exercise in the Baltic sea with the participation of more than 30 ships, Defense Ministry of Russia announced on 3rd August.
“The Oceanic Shield-2020 naval drills have begun under the direction of Russian Navy Commander-in-Chief Nikolai Yevmenov,” the statement says.
The drills involve over 30 warships of various classes, naval aviation, coastal defense troops, air defense forces and marine infantry, the ministry specified.
During the drills running in the Baltic Sea, the naval forces will conduct launches of attack and anti-aircraft missiles and hold artillery firings, the ministry said.
Although Russian officials refrain from giving details about the scope of the exercise, it is wondered whether the Russians will try the Tsirkon guided missile that was assembled to their ships recently. The fact that Sweden’s possibility to join NATO is on the agenda disturbs Russia. For this reason, Russia turns the exercises especially in the Baltic Sea into a comprehensive demonstration of power.
Yet, Moscow frequently claims that such exercises are not intended as a threat to its neighbours. However, the reported monitoring of the exercise by US, Polish and Swedish reconnaissance aircraft underscores the anxiety created by such exercises and their possible implications for Baltic security. These Russian exercises are growing in scale, testing potential approaches to conflict with a hypothetical opponent in the region that can only fit the US and NATO, while sending unclear strategic messages.
The exercise has been conducted every year in the summer season. Last year, the exercise Ocean Shield-2019 was conducted longer than planned because of the reaction of NATO.