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Russia to move naval drills away from Irish coast

The Project 11711 large landing ship Pyotr Morgunov , one of three Northern Fleet large landing ships headed to the Mediterranean. (Michael Nitz)

Russia has agreed to relocate a live-firing exercise that was planned to take place in international waters in the Irish Sea, Moscow's ambassador to Ireland has announced.

The Irish Aviation Authority was originally notified on 21 January of the Russian Navy's plans to carry out the live artillery and missile firing in early February, 240 km southwest of the Irish coast. However, the announcement raised objections from the Irish government and Irish fishing groups.

In a press release issued on 29 January, Russian ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov said that in response to requests from the Irish government and the Irish South & West Fish Producers Organisation, it was decided that the exercises would be moved to outside of the Irish exclusive economic zone (EEZ) “with the aim to not hinder fishing activities by the Irish vessels in traditional fishing areas”.

The Russian Navy has scheduled multiple out-of-area exercises that will continue throughout February across all of its areas of responsibility. To this end, it has been transiting ships from bases to exercise areas since mid-January.

On 26 January the Russian Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that a detachment of Northern Fleet ships had entered the Barents Sea to operate in conjunction with the Arctic Expeditionary Group of Forces and Troops. The flotilla was led by Project 1164 Slava-class cruiser Marshal Ustinov, with Project 22350 Admiral Gorshkov-class frigate Admiral Kasatonov and Project 1155 Udaloy-class destroyer Vitse Admiral Kulakov as escorts.

They will likely join with the two Baltic Fleet Project 20381 Steregushchiy-class corvettes, Soobrazitelny and Stoikiy

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