Russia Asks France to Accommodate Recon Airplanes in Djibouti
Photo: Eastern Military District Press Service
Moscow applied to Paris with a request to station two Russian reconnaissance airplanes Il-38 on French naval base in Djibouti for anti-piracy purposes, Russian defense minister Anatoly Serdiukov said on Wednesday.
"We asked French partners to accommodate two reconnaissance airplanes in Djibouti for anti-piracy warfare in addition to three French patrol aircraft", reports RIA Novosti citing the minister.
In that way Russia wants to increase overall number of reconnaissance airplanes deployed in the region up to 5, explained the minister.
As for Serdiukov, Russia considers anti-piracy activities as an important aspect of cooperation. "Our ships closely cooperate in the Gulf of Aden to secure civil shipping", Serdiukov said.
He stressed that Russian defense ministry was interested in development of cooperation in such ways as exchange of piracy-related information, joint naval exercises near the Horn of Africa, joint medical support and escorting of civil vessels.
The Gulf of Aden is a piracy-hazardous region; Somali pirates regularly capture ships there to obtain ransoms.
Permanent presence of Russian warships in regions known for frequent pirate attacks is envisaged in the Navy Employment Plan.
Russian Navy protects merchant shipping in the Gulf of Aden since Oct 2008 by escorting convoys through Russian 'safety corridor'. Every year, Russian Navy deploys four or five anti-piracy task units to that region on rotational basis. Over 700 commercial convoys have been safely escorted through that period; none of ships was captured.
In May 2010, destroyer Marshall Shaposhnikov performed an unprecedented counter-piracy operation and released crew of Russian oil tanker Moscow University. Capt 1 Rank Ildar Akhmerov directed that operation. There were 23 Russian sailors onboard the tanker.
The ship was heading from the Red Sea for China with 86,000 tons of oil. No sailors suffered during the assault operation; 10 pirates were captured, one killed.