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‘Rapid reaction’: Russia’s ships, missile systems ‘on duty’ as NATO holds exercise in Black Sea

The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s reconnaissance and attack ships and coastal missile systems have been put “on duty” in connection with NATO’s exercise in the Black Sea, according to the National Defense Control Center under the Defense Ministry. The Black Sea Fleet is carrying out a package of measures to monitor NATO’s ships for rapid reaction to likely emergencies, the center said. “Reconnaissance ships and also naval attack groups, coastal missile systems Bastion and Bal and naval aircraft are on duty,” it added. NATO’s Sea Shield-2019 exercise began in the southwestern part of the Black Sea on Monday, with ships and aircraft from the US, Bulgaria, Greece, Canada, the Netherlands, Romania and Turkey taking part in cooperation with Georgian and Ukrainian armed forces, TASS reports.