The last, 10th phase of an international operation to sweep mines remaining from the 1st and 2nd world wars in the Baltic Sea waters began in the Gulf of Tallinn in Estonia on Thursday. Press secretary Ingrid Muhling of the Estonian naval staff reports that taking part in this operation are 22 ships and nearly 1,000 servicemen from the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Norway, Belgium, France, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. National units of these countries are involved, making up a squadron of mine-sweepers of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Baltic squadron of mine-sweepers Baltron, a unit of divers from Norway and a British logistic mobile formation. General guidance of this operation is handled by Laudi Tamm, chief of staff of the Estonian navy, and Igor Swede, commander of the Baltic squadron of mine-sweepers. The operation is aiming to ensure navigation safety on this most lively international route. Experts say, over 80,000 mines of the times of the 1st and 2nd world wars are still found in the Gulf of Finland.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea