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Russia, China, Iran start joint naval drill in Gulf of Oman

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 12, 2024 4:37 PM 2 min read
Iranian, Chinese, and Russian naval forces during a joint military exercise in the Indian Ocean on March 15, 2023. Photo for illustrative purposes. (Iranian Army/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
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Russia, China, and Iran started a joint naval exercise called "Marine Security Belt 2024" in the Gulf of Oman, off the coast of Iran, on March 12.  

Beijing has maintained close ties with Moscow during its full-scale war against Ukraine, increasing economic cooperation and disrupting Western attempts at isolating Russia.

Russia has also strengthened its ties with Iran, in particular deepening the level of military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran.

The three countries conducted similar joint naval exercises in the past, including in 2023. The latest drill comes amid heightened tensions in waters off the Arabian peninsula.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Russia sent a detachment of ships from its Pacific Fleet to the Gulf of Oman, and more than 20 vessels from the three navies are involved in the drill.

"During the exercise, warships of the three countries will perform joint maneuvers and fire at surface and air targets, and will also practice elements of freeing a ship captured by pirates," the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Naval representatives from Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Oman, India, and South Africa are acting as observers during the exercise. The exercise is expected to end on March 15.

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