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Sep 19, 11:52 AM EDT

Russian navy launches barrage of cruise missiles in drills

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MOSCOW (AP) -- The Russian military says its warships have test-fired cruise missiles in an exercise that comes along with weeklong war games held by Russia and Belarus.

The Defense Ministry said Tuesday that the Northern Fleet's flagship, the nuclear-powered Peter the Great missile cruiser, two nuclear submarines and a destroyer launched cruise missiles at mock targets. As part of the drills, crews also launched the Bastion anti-ship missiles.

The Zapad (West) 2017 maneuvers began Thursday at several firing ranges in Belarus and western Russia. They run through Wednesday.

Russia and Belarus kept the stated number of troops involved in the drills just below 13,000, a limit allowing them to dodge more intrusive inspections by NATO. They rejected claims by some NATO countries that estimated up to 100,000 troops could be involved.

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