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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian warship en route to Blackseafor naval drills

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, April 8 (RIA Novosti) - The Caesar Kunikov large amphibious landing ship from Russia's Black Sea Fleet set out on Thursday to take part in Blackseafor naval drills, the fleet's press service said.

Blackseafor was formally established in 2001 on Turkey's initiative and comprises Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Georgia and Russia. It conducts search and rescue operations and environmental monitoring, and organizes goodwill visits to Black Sea countries.

"The warship will represent the Russian Federation in this international group," the statement said, adding that a naval infantry unit was on board to ensure its security in port, as well as to conduct anti-terror drills.

This year's drills will be conducted under the command of a Bulgarian admiral.

The Blackseafor warships will practice tactical maneuvers, the conduct of combat operations against surface ships, air defense and communications.

The warships will also rehearse assistance to ships in distress, ship inspection and replenishing at sea.

Georgian warships have not participated in the Blackseafor exercises for a number of years. Russia has said it will not take part in any naval exercises involving Georgian warships.

Diplomatic ties were cut off between Russia and Georgia in August 2008 after a five-day war over the former Georgian republic of South Ossetia.

The Caesar Kunikov is a Ropucha-I class large landing ship. It was involved in the conflict between Russia and Georgia in August 2008.

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