Just days after media reports on Russia’s naval buildup in the Mediterranean Sea first emerged, the country’s defense ministry on Thursday announced a large-scale drill in the Mediterranean.

Prior to the defense ministry’s announcement, the Russian Navy was said to have a little over ten warships sailing off the coast of Syria as the country’s president Bashar al-Assad prepares an operation against rebel positions in the northern Idlib province.

According to the TASS news agency, the naval exercise which is set to start on September 1 2018 will involve 25 warships and some 30 aircraft.

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