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Russian Navy wraps up joint drills with China, Iran (VIDEO)

The ‘Marine Security Belt’ maneuvers saw sailors free a vessel ‘hijacked’ by pirates in the Gulf of Oman

The Russian Navy has concluded joint drills with their Chinese and Iranian colleagues in the Gulf of Oman. The ‘Marine Security Belt’ exercise featured more than 20 vessels, as well as helicopters, and focused on ensuring the security of maritime economic activities.

In a statement on Thursday, the Russian Defense Ministry revealed that “during the two days’ drills with their colleagues from the Iranian and Chinese Navies, Russian sailors practiced joint maneuvers and communication exercises, the firing of high-caliber machine guns, and small-caliber onboard artillery on surface and air targets by day and by night.”


READ MORE: Russian warships train in India alongside vessels from West and Iran

The drills also included an exercise to free a ship ‘hijacked’ by pirates, with helicopters dropping special units on board the vessel.

Two Pacific Fleet ships represented Russia at the annual event: the Slava-class guided missile cruiser Varyag and the Udaloy-class frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov.

According to the Chinese Defense Ministry, the navy of the People’s Liberation Army deployed the guided-missile destroyer Urumqi, the guided-missile frigate Linyi, and the supply ship Dongpinghu to take part in the drills.

The Iranian Navy contributed several helicopters and a dozen vessels of various sizes.

The participating navies have now congregated in the Iranian port city of Chabahar, where they are reviewing the maneuvers before the drills are formally concluded.

For the first time in the six-year history of the ‘Marine Security Belt’ exercise, the event was attended by observers from several other nations, including Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Oman, India and the United Arab Emirates.

The drills were originally an Iranian initiative, and have always been a trilateral event, except in 2021, when China was absent.

This year, the maneuvers took place near the entrance to the Persian Gulf – a bottleneck through which much of the world’s oil passes.

Off the opposite coast of the Arabian peninsula, the US and its allies have been conducting their own maritime operation aimed at protecting civilian ships from attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militants.

The group, which controls large swaths of the war-torn country, has for months been targeting vessels it believes to be linked to Israel. The militants see this as their contribution to the Palestinian cause amid Israel’s military campaign against Hamas in Gaza.

Soon after Washington, London and several other nations deployed their navies to the area, the Houthis began to attack ships affiliated with the US and the UK.

 

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