Russia: July 24, 2002


  Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said earlier that the Caspian Sea maneuvers (Exercise "Morye Mira-2002") would involve all branches of the Russian military for the first time in Russian history. About 60 warships will take part in the exercises, including the flagship of the Caspian flotilla, the escort ship "Tatarstan". The maneuvers, scheduled to start on 7 - 14 August, would also involve Russian Army units, railroad troops, the Federal Border Service, the Emergencies Ministry, the Federal Security Service (FSB), the Interior Ministry troops and Transportation Ministry units. 

Azerbaijani President Heidar Aliyev told journalists on 19 July that Baku will also participate in "Morye Mira-2002" as a full-fledged participant, not as an observer. All branches of the Kazakh armed forces will also participate, setting up a tent camp on the Caspian coast in the Mangistau region.

The exercise's primary goal is to practice blocking the channels that can be used by international terrorists and drug traffickers. Participants in the war games will seal off islands in the northern part of the sea, then land reconnaissance and search parties. The latter operation will involve Kazak air defense forces. - Adam Geibel


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