The press service of the Russian Foreign Ministry announced today that a naval training exercise is to be held in the Caspian Sea in August. The order for the exercise was given by President Vladimir Putin in his role as commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces. According to Alexander Yakovenko, the Foreign Ministry's official spokesperson, the training exercise, involving ships, troops and task forces of the Caspian Fleet, is intended to bolster regional security and stability and does not represent a threat to foreign states.
The exercise will test the ability of the Caspian Fleet's sailors to carry out tasks under the threat of international terrorism, as well as to cooperate with other Caspian states on combating drugs and arms smuggling, illegal fishing and piracy, and on ensuring the safety of shipping and industrial activity around the Caspian.
Elements of the training exercise will be carried out both on the shore and in the sea, with the participation of observers and military forces from other Caspian states. The first stage will be devoted to a drill to improve the security of the fleet under the current threat of terrorist activity. At the same time, a drill for finding and destroying terrorist and smuggling bases in the hard-to-reach archipelagoes of the Caspian will be held. This operation will involve a blockade of islands in the northern part of the Caspian Sea by ships from the Caspian Fleet.
The second stage will practice operations for identifying a vessel carrying armed personnel, detaining it, sending onboard a search party, and escorting it to the nearest Russian port. An exercise to protect industrial districts and installations will be held in the northern part of the Caspian Sea with the assistance of the Russian Energy and Transport Ministries and LUKoil. It will involve plans for protecting installations, as well as drills for search and rescue operations in the sea, assisting a vessel in distress and clearing up an oil spill.
The final stage of the training exercise will practice joint actions for assisting vessels that have been damaged as the result of a terrorist attack, and for rescuing people from the sea.