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Russia, Egypt Begin Joint Naval Exercises

Russia's Defense Ministry says Russian and Egyptian warships have begun their first ever joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean.

The ministry said the eight-day drill off the Egyptian port of Alexandria, which started on June 6, is aimed at practicing protection for coastal areas.

The drill is scheduled to last through June 14.

The ministry said the exercises would include supply and communication at sea, search operations, all forms of defense at sea, and firing exercises.

Russia is contributing the missile cruiser Moskva and the Samum corvette, along with three other ships.

Egypt's five vessels include the Taba and Dumyat frigates.

Moscow has been cultivating ties with Egypt, a Soviet ally for much of the Cold War and traditional export market for Russian arms.

Russia held similar naval exercises with a Chinese squadron in the Mediterranean last month.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters