Black Sea Fleet (BSF) landing ships Nikolai Filchenkov and Azov passed the Turkish Straits on Dec 27 and soon will join the BSF task unit comprising Guards missile cruiser Moskva, destroyer Smetlivy, replenishment oiler Ivan Bubnov, and seagoing tug BS-406 being deployed in the eastern Mediterranean.
In the appointed area, Russian ships will hold a number of antiaircraft/antisubmarine/antisurface drills, and practice communications and joint maneuvering.
BSF marine units attached to the ships will attend the anchorage security drills. Russian Navy command began posting marine units to warships and auxiliary vessels after terror attack upon American destroyer USS Cole
at the Yemeni port Aden in 2000.
Landing ships Nikolai Filchenkov
departed from Novorossiysk on Dec 24 to replace BSF landing ships Novocherkassk
that left the Mediterranean early Dec 2012 upon completion of the combat training mission within a task force.