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Russia: Large-Scale Military Exercises To Be Held In Caspian

Oslo, 17 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Russia will hold large-scale military exercises in the Caspian Sea next month, the Russian defense minister announced today. Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, while on a visit to Oslo, said today that all branches of the Russian military will be involved in the exercises.

Ivanov told Russian reporters that the exercises will last from 8-15 August and will involve more than 60 ships -- the biggest in the area since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

He said that representatives of the other four nations bordering the Caspian -- Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan -- have been invited as observers.

The five littoral states so far have failed to agree on how to divide the Caspian's oil reserves.