MOSCOW: Russia's navy said on Friday fighter jets had started training exercises over the Mediterranean Sea, an announcement that is likely to raise tensions in the standoff with Ukraine over the future of Crimea.
Navy spokesman Vadim Serga told Interfax news agency sorties had begun from the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, which docked last month in Cyprus, and training included tactics for engaging aerial targets and other battle techniques.
The aircraft involved in the training included Sukhoi SU-33 air defence fighters and Kamov Ka-27 anti-submarine helicopters.
The flights would continue if the weather was favourable, Serga said.
He made no mention of Russia's standoff with Ukraine over the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea, where Russian forces have taken control.
The U.S. Navy has sent a guided-missile destroyer, the USS Truxtun, to the Black Sea on what it said was a routine deployment scheduled before the crisis in Ukraine.