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NATO Mine Counter-Measures Ships Exercise With Russian Ships at Sea

NATO Mine Counter-Measures Ships Exercise With Russian Ships at Sea

ST PETERSBURG, Russia – Yesterday, six NATO ships assigned to Standing NATO Mine Counter-Measures Group ONE (SNMCMG1) concluded a port visit to St Petersburg, Russia, with a passing exercise (PASSEX) joined by two Russian ships in Russian territorial waters.

Under the command of Commander Piotr Sikora, Polish Navy, the Group includes the flagship ORP CZERNICKI (Poland), ENS ADMIRAL COWAN (Estonia), BNS NARCIS (Belgium), HNLMS MAKKUM  (Netherlands), HNoMS RAUMA (Norway), and FGS DILLINGEN (Germany).  

“This kind of cooperation paves the way for future joined Russia-NATO operations,” said Sikora. “Talking with our Russian counterparts during this port visit allowed us to recognize that there are many areas of military cooperation between NATO and Russia, especially in the field of counter piracy, counter terrorism, education, training, and search and rescue at sea. These kinds of visits and exercises allow us to enhance understanding between NATO and Russia, but also to improve interoperability and cooperation in areas of shared interest.”

During the weekend in St. Petersburg, Commander Sikora paid a visit to the Commander of the Leningrad Naval Base on board the historic cruiser ‘AURORA’ and laid a wreath in honor of those buried at the Piskarevsky Memorial Cemetery. The crews of NATO and Russian ships also met to play a friendly football game, and the citizens were invited to visit the ships throughout the weekend.

The ships departed the port of St. Petersburg yesterday morning and conducted a maneuvering and communications exercise with a Russian minesweeper and an anti-submarine vessel.  Upon conclusion of the exercise as the sun was setting, both sides rendered honors to each other, passing by in short range and traditionally wishing fair winds and following seas.

With its engagement with the Russian Navy concluded, the Group now shifts its focus to preparing for Exercise STEADFAST JAZZ, soon to begin off the coast of Poland.

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