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Russian warship returns to Crimea base after drills

Russian warship returns to Crimea base after drills 28.08.2008 Source: en.rian.ru

Russia's Azov amphibious warfare ship has returned to its base in Sevastopol, in Ukraine's Crimea, after international naval exercises, the Black Sea Fleet said on Thursday.

Russia is part of the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group (Blackseafor), which also includes Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania and Georgia. The statement did not specify which of the six participating states took part in the drills.

The exercise took place amid heightened tensions in the Black Sea, with U.S. warships moored off Georgia's coast and a standoff between Russia and NATO over the recent conflict in Georgia.

Blackseafor ships were not involved in Russia's peace enforcement operation in Georgia, which followed Georgia's attack on breakaway South Ossetia three weeks ago.

Formally established on Turkey's initiative in 2001, Blackseafor conducts search and rescue operations, and environmental monitoring, and organizes goodwill visits among Black Sea littoral states.

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