Russia to hold major navy drills involving all its fleets

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Marines of the Baltic Fleet forces of the Russian Navy train in the zone of obstacles during military exercises at the Khmelevka firing ground in the Kaliningrad region, Russia November 24, 2021. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar

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MOSCOW, Jan 20 (Reuters) - Russia announced on Thursday its navy wouldstage a sweeping set of exercisesinvolving all its fleets this month and next from the Pacific to the Atlantic, the latest show of strength in a surge of military activity during a standoff with the West.

The drills will take place in the seas directly adjacent to Russia and also feature manoeuvres in the Mediterranean, the North Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, the northeast Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific, it said.

They will draw on 140 warships and support vessels, 60 planes, 1,000 units of military hardware and around 10,000 servicemen, the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

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Russian military moves are being closely scrutinised as a troop build-up near Ukraine and a volley of hawkish rhetoric have rattled the West and sparked fears of a looming war. Moscow vehemently denies any plan to invade Ukraine.

In a video posted on Facebook, the ministry showed its Pacific Fleet's newest diesel-electric submarine test-firing a Kalibr cruise missile at a land-based target from an underwater position in the Sea of Japan.

The missile struck a coastal target in Russia's far eastern Khabarovsk region from a range of more than 1,000 km (620 miles), it said.

Separately, China, Russia and Iran are set to hold joint naval drills on Friday, a public relations official from Iran's armed forces told the semi-official ISNA news agency. read more

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Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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