This summer, Russian Tu-22M3 strategic bombers rehearsed carrying out a strategic missile strike against the city of Odessa, said Ukrainian Naval Commander Admiral Ihor Voronchenko at the third international maritime security conference for countries in the Black Sea region, Dumskaya reports.
According to Voronchenko, the aircraft performed a virtual launch 60 km from Odessa, and then went back towards the Bosporus Straight. The exercise, which the commander described as “provocative”, was conducted on July 10, he claims.
In his report, Voronchenko also said that Russia has been increasing its military presence in the Black Sea. According to his estimates, since 2014 the number of ships in Russia’s Black Sea Fleet has grown from 34 to 49, with the number of submarines growing from one to seven.
In addition, the Ukrainian naval commander said that Russia has been gradually changing the population of Crimea, having resettled as many as 100,000 people there in the last year. As many as 30 battalions of tactical groups are “permanently ready to invade Ukraine,” Voronchenko claims.
The international conference on maritime security in the Black Sea region is attended by military personnel and diplomats from countries in the region, as well as from the US, UK, Norway and Sweden. The conference focuses on matters related to Russia’s policies.