Russian and Egyptian warship crews have started naval maneuvers within combined force teams and drilled an “encounter sea battle,” the Russian Defense Ministry reported on Thursday according to Tass.
“On June 11, crews of Russian and Egyptian warships involved in the Bridge of Friendship-2015 naval exercise started to fulfill tasks at sea within combined tactical naval groups,” the ministry said according to the news agency.
Moscow has been cultivating ties with Egypt, a Soviet ally, for much of the Cold War and traditional export market for Russian arms and also conducted similar naval drills with China in the Mediterranean Sea in May.
Last March, Russia and Egypt agreed to sign an agreement on military cooperation that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said would define the expanding bilateral defense relations between the two nations “for years to come”.
“The parties agreed to continue the practice of inviting Egyptian military to Russian exercises in the capacity of observers, and also to hold a naval exercise in the Mediterranean this year and an anti-terrorist exercise of rapid reaction forces,” Russia’s Defense ministry said in a statement.
In February this year, the leaders of Russia and Egypt also signed “a memorandum of understanding to build the first nuclear plant in [the northern city of] El-Dabaa.” According to the document, Russia would contribute not only to the construction of a nuclear power plant, but also staff and scientific research.
“We discussed today the possibility of cooperation in nuclear power engineering,” Putin said. “If final decisions are made, they will relate not only to the construction of a nuclear power plant but also to the creation of a whole new nuclear power industry in Egypt.”