MOSCOW, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Russia's Pacific Fleet is holding tactical military exercises aimed at protecting the Northern Sea Route, the country's defense ministry said on Monday.
The "Finval-2023" exercises are taking place in the waters of the Chukchi and Bering Seas as well as on the Chukotka Peninsula, according to the defense ministry.
Around 10,000 military personnel and more than 50 units of military equipment are involved in the exercises, it said. Among those are naval aircraft and helicopters, and coastal defense missile systems.
During the first phase of the drills, Russian forces conducted combat exercises that focused on defeating a group of ships in the northeastern part of the Bering Sea. Military personnel practiced conducting missile strikes from a guided-missile cruiser, a nuclear submarine, and a coastal defense missile system.
The drills also involved missile and artillery firing, as well as exercises on anti-submarine, anti-aircraft and anti-landing defense.
All of the exercises "are defensive in nature" and intended to improve "the training of forces and troops" during operations on Russia's northeastern borders, according to the ministry. ■