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Russian, Turkish Navies Hold Joint Drills in Black Sea

Russia's Black Sea Fleet and Turkey's navy held joint exercises in the Black Sea, the fleet's spokesman Vyacheslav Trukhachev said Wednesday.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian Admiral Grigorovich frigate equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles, as well as the Vice Admiral Zakharin sea thawler and the Raptor patrol vessel participated in the drill.
From the Turkish navy, the Barbaros fiegate and the Büyükada corvette participated in the joint exercises.

"As part of the drill, ships of the two countries practiced… exit from a naval base, joint maneuvering and communication, as well as repelling an attack of a small-sized high-speed target, an inspection operation, search for and rescue of a person in the water," Trukhachev told reporters.

The exercise was held on Wednesday after the visit of the Turkish ships to Novorossiysk.

Earlier, the Admiral Grigorovich frigate participated in the operation of the Russian naval group in Syria led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft-carrying cruiser. Kalibr cruise missiles were launched from the warship on terrorist targets in November 2016. After Moscow had started the reduction of its combat group in Syria, the Admiral Kuznetsov naval group had been the first to sail back.

Putin believes US attack on Syria violates international law – spokesman

President Putin “regards the strikes as aggression against a sovereign nation,” his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, noting that the president believes the strikes were carried out “in violation of international law, and also under an invented pretext.”

Peskov also insisted that “the Syrian army doesn’t have chemical weapons,” saying this had been “observed and confirmed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a special UN unit.”

Putin sees the US missile strike on Syria as an attempt to distract attention from civilian casualties in Iraq, Peskov added.

“This step deals significant damage to US-Russian ties, which are already in a deplorable state,” Peskov said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says US strikes on Syria illegal
by Nick Pearson

Russia has called for an urgent meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the US's airstrike on Syrian airbase, and Putin has blasted Trump's military action as illegal.

Russian President Vladimir Putin believes US cruise missile strikes broke international law and have seriously hurt US-Russia relations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

US President Donald Trump, who has pushed for closer ties with Russia, ordered a strike of 59 Tomahawk missiles on the al-Sharyat Airfield. The airfield is believed to be where the gas attack that killed more than 70 civilians originated.

Peskov told local media Putin regarded the US action as "aggression against a sovereign nation" on a "made-up pretext".

Peskov said Russia did not believe Syria possessed chemical weapons and the US move harmed the fight against terrorism.

“This step deals significant damage to US-Russian ties, which are already in a deplorable state,” the state-run quoted Mr Peskov as saying.

The US operation is believed to be the first direct strike on Bashar al-Assad's regime by the US since the Syrian civil war started.

Four people were killed in the strike, according to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

"An air commodore was among the four soldiers killed," the monitoring group said.

"The airbase was almost completely destroyed - the runway, the fuel tanks and the air defences were all blown to pieces."

Russia has been a long-running ally of Assad's regime and it is believed there were Russian forces at the Al Sharyat Airfield near Homs, but the strike did not target those sections.

Fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles were deployed from two American warships targeted solely at the base.
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