A total of 36 Russian warships and support vessels have been deployed towards Europe, in one of the largest military exercises in over a decade. 

The Northern Fleet has embarked on a surprise exercise aimed to counter a potential war with Europe.

Thebarentsobserver.com reports: A total of 36 warships and support vessels are currently on their way out to the Barents Sea. Also, about 20 aircrafts are in the air. Along the coast of the Kola Peninsula, more than 150 different rocket- and artillery weapon systems and special equipment are deployed.

Larger areas in the Barents Sea are now closed off for civilian shipping and overflights by civilian passenger aircraft. The drill will last until the end of next week.

The press-service of the Northern Fleet explains the exercise to be a full-range defensive-aimed drill to combat a massive enemy attach. The fleet will carry out shootings with different naval weapons, including launching of cruise-missiles, mines and torpedoes and other missiles.

Among the warships are the missile cruiser «Marshal Ustinov,» anti-submarine ship «Severomorsk», the destroyer «Admiral Ushakov», the large landing ships «Kondapoga», «Georgy Pobedonosets» and «Aleksandr Obrakovsky».

Without specifying classes or names, the Northern Fleet says both nuclear-powered and diesel submarines participate.

Asked by the Barents Observer about updated information, the press-service of the Northern Fleet says it can’t provide more information to foreign media, the request is forwarded to the Ministry of Defense in Moscow.

Norway not informed

Press-spokesman at Norway’s military Joint Head Quarters, Major Brynjar Stordal, says to the Barents Observer that Norway was not informed about the naval drill.

«Russian forces in the north has over time had a relatively high level of activities in different fields, something they have all rights to do within own territory and in international waters and airspace.»

Major Stordal says Russia’s military activities in areas close to Norway are of course monitored in order to «maintain a satisfactory understanding of the situation.»

The Northern Fleet, with headquarters in Severomorsk north of Murmansk, is the largest of Russia’s four fleets.