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Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Russian navy to join drills with NATO for first time in decade

A total of 30 countries will take part in the drills, with 10 engaging their fleets and the rest sending observers

AFP , Thursday 10 Dec 2020
Russian Navy
Russian warships sail during the Navy Day parade in Kronstadt near Saint Petersburg, Russia July 26, 2020 REUTERS
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Russia's navy on Thursday said it will join a military exercise next year that will become its first joint drill with NATO countries in a decade.

In a statement on Thursday, Russia's Southern Military District said the country's navy would participate in the Aman-2021 exercise that is due to take place in February off the coast of Pakistan.

A total of 30 countries will take part in the drills, with 10 engaging their fleets and the rest sending observers.

The participating countries include Russia, Pakistan, China and Japan, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported, citing a statement from the Black Sea fleet that will be representing Russia at the exercise.

The drills will also involve the NATO member fleets of the UK, the United States and Turkey, the report added.

The last time the Russian navy joined an exercise with the ships of several NATO members was during the 2011 Bold Monarch exercise off the coast of Spain.

However, the Russian navy has in the decade since held joint exercises with Turkey, with which Moscow has enjoyed a closer relationship than other NATO countries.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu clarified to AFP that the alliance itself "has no exercise planned with Russia".

Relations between Russia and NATO have soured in recent years, after the US-led military alliance suspended relations with Moscow in 2014 following the annexation of Crimea.

In September chief of the Russian army's General Staff Valery Gerasimov accused NATO of increasing its military presence at the Russian border.

In a report published earlier this month, NATO said that Russia will likely remain its main threat in the coming decade.

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