Russian warship to take part in Blackseafor naval drills
The Caesar Kunikov large amphibious landing ship from Russia's Black Sea Fleet will take part in regular Blackseafor naval drills in April, the fleet's press office said on Thursday.
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.
Its charter says Blackseafor can also be deployed for peacekeeping operations under a UN or OSCE mandate.
This year's drills will be conducted under the command of the Bulgarian Navy.
The Blackseafor warships will practice tactical maneuvers, the conduct of combat operations against surface ships, air defense and communications, the press office said.
The warships will also practice assisting distressed ships, naval isolation, ship inspection and provision replenishing at sea. Special attention will be paid to anti-terror exercises.
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.