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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian warships to join intl. drills in Mediterranean, Black Sea

RIA Novosti

10/06/2008 17:45 MOSCOW, June 10 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Black Sea Fleet warships will take part in several international drills in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea later this year, a Navy spokesman said on Tuesday.

Capt. 1st Rank Igor Dygalo said Russian warships would join a series of international exercises "in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean," designed to strengthen stability.

He added that the guided missile frigate Ladny would join Active Endeavor, a NATO-led counter-terror operation in the Mediterranean, in August.

Russia's Navy has since December 2007 regularly participated in counterterrorist operations carried out as part of the Turkey-led Operation Black Sea Harmony in the Black Sea.

The operation does not permit the use of force against suspect ships, but participating countries are allowed to board and inspect vessels after gaining the approval of the captain or the country owning the ship.

In 2007, Russian warships took part in nine joint exercises with foreign navies, including the Black Sea Naval Co-operation Task Group (Blackseafor) with the participation of Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Georgia.

It also took part in 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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