Russian minesweeper joins anti-terror drill on Black Sea
27/05/2008 13:35 MOSCOW, May 27 (RIA Novosti) - The Zheleznyakov minesweeper from Russia's Black Sea Fleet has left the port of Novorossiisk to join a Turkey-led drill to prevent terrorism and smuggling on the Black Sea, the Russian Navy said on Tuesday.
In March 2004, Turkey proposed a new security initiative, Black Sea Harmony, as a move to improve communication and monitor suspicious vessels, and has invited other littoral states, including Russia and Ukraine, to participate in the operation.
"The Russian vessel will perform tasks in designated sectors of the Black Sea jointly with the Turkish navy," Captain 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said.
The operation does not permit the use of force against suspect ships, but participating countries will be allowed to board and inspect vessels after gaining the approval of the captain or the country owning the ship, the spokesman said.
Russia's Navy regularly participates in counterterrorist operations Black Sea Harmony in the Black Sea and Active Endeavor in the Mediterranean.
In 2007, Russian naval ships took part in nine joint exercises with foreign navies, including Blackseafor with the participation of Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia and Open Spirit 2007, involving Germany, the United Kingdom, Denmark, the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belgium, France, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Estonia.
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