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Three Caspian States To Hold First Joint Naval Drills

The Russian military says Russia, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan will hold joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea for the first time this summer.

A spokesman for Russia's Southern Military District, Colonel Igor Gorbul, said on January 6 that the exercises will be held in the central part of the inland sea in June and July.

He said it was the first time the three nations will hold joint naval exercises.

The five shoreline countries -- Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran -- have argued over the division of the Caspian and the right to its rich resources since the 1991 Soviet collapse.

Gorbul said warships would hold drills in protecting sea lanes and areas of economic activity, in some cases practicing firing at targets in the sea, on shore, and in the air.

In addition to combat drills, ships' crews will conduct search-and-rescue support exercises.

Based on reporting by TASS and Kazinform