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Russia is monitoring NATO's current 11-day exercise in the Black Sea, involving such nations as the U.S. and Turkey, said Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu Wednesday.
"You know, a large group of ships entered the Black Sea and will continue to enter," Shoigu said of the Sea Shield 2017 exercises, during a meeting with high-level military officials in the ministry.
Shoigu said: "Currently, we’re watching and keeping check over everything that is happening there."
He said he hoped the exercises will be conducted in the "safest" environment and would not create any "challenge" to Russia.
"Otherwise, we are ready to meet these challenges," added Shoigu.
The Sea Shield exercise, which started on Wednesday, aims to promote mutual understanding, confidence, interoperability, and defense cooperation among participating nations, according to NATO’s website.
A total of seven NATO countries -- the U.S., Turkey, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Canada, Spain, and Ukraine -- are taking part in the exercise, which will end on Feb. 11.
Some 2,800 military personnel, 16 vessels, and 10 planes are taking part.
2017.02.01 / 22:17