Russian Navy’s Black Sea Fleet is all set to head to Pakistan to participate in the AMAN-2021 military exercise, taking place in February 2021 in Pakistani waters.
— Global Times (@globaltimesnews) December 11, 2020
The Russian fleet will be joined by the navies of 30 other countries, including NATO members, the Russian Ministry of Defence announced on Thursday.
This will be the first time Russia participates in a joint exercise with the NATO members in ten years, which is scheduled to take place off Karachi, Pakistan’s port city, between February 11-16, next year.
The Russian and NATO naval forces last took part in a joint naval exercise at the Bold Monarch in 2011 off the coast of Spain.
The AMAN-2021 anti-piracy drills will involve British, US, Turkish, Chinese, Japanese and other forces, according to the Russian defense ministry.
The ministry also said the ‘initiators of practicing joint actions were the Naval Forces of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, on whose territory an international exercise will take place.’ The Russian Navy will represent the forces of the Black Sea Fleet, including a frigate, a patrol ship, a rescue tug, a Marine Corps unit, a demining squad and a sea-based helicopter.
The exercise is meant to strengthen and develop military cooperation between the participating countries in the interests of security and stability at sea, as well as the exchange of experience between naval sailors in repelling the threats of sea piracy in areas of intensive shipping.
According to a NATO statement to Reuters, the 30-member bloc had no plans to take up any military exercises with Russia, but that the participation of the individual nations was up to them to decide.
“Our practical cooperation remains suspended as a consequence of Russia’s illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014,” Reuters quoted a NATO official saying.
Russia and the US have engaged in frequent altercations this year, with Russia accusing NATO of beefing up its presence close to Russian borders. “The growth of US and NATO military activity is not taking place in the Atlantic or Caribbean, but at a distance of 20-30 kilometers from the Russian borders,” Russia’s Chief of Staff said in September.
In the further deterioration of relations between the two superpowers, a NATO report released earlier this month recognized Russia as the main threat to the western military bloc in the coming decade.
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