Russia, China and Iran launch naval drills

Russia, China and Iran kicked off the active phase of joint naval exercises near the Islamic Republic’s southernmost city on Thursday, the Russian military said confirmed after the Chinese Ministry of Defense announced the drills.

“Maritime Security Belt 2023” will run from March 15-18 in three stages, including an active phase on March 16-17, in the Gulf of Oman near the Iranian port city of Chabahar.

These are at least the third Russian-Chinese-Iranian naval war games since 2019. Russia and China also conducted joint naval exercises with South Africa in February 2023.

The Russian Defense Ministry said it deployed the Northern Fleet frigate Admiral Gorshkov along with the medium tanker Kama, which took part in the Russian-Chinese-South African drills last month.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army has dispatched its destroyer Nanjing, while Iran is sending the frigates Sakhand and Jamaran, as well as the corvette Bayando.

After completing briefings and tactical training on Wednesday, the two-day active phase will be “to form an inter-ethnic unit of warships” with joint maneuvers, artillery firing exercises and anti-piracy operations.

The Russian Defense Ministry said “Maritime Security Belt 2023” will end on March 18 with a preview of the active phase.

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