Russia and Egypt are holding their first ever joint naval exercise, Russia’s defence ministry said on Saturday, strengthening the ties between two states which were once Cold War allies.

The eight-day drills off the Mediterranean Egyptian port of Alexandria, beginning today, will include supply and communication at sea, search operations, all forms of defence at sea and firing exercises.

“The goal of the exercise is to strengthen and develop military co-operation between Egypt’s navy and Russia’s navy in the interests of security and stability on the sea,” the ministry said.

Russia is contributing the missile cruiser Moskva, corvette Samum, landing ship Alexander Shabalin, tanker Ivan Bubnov and a tugboat, while Egypt is contributing the frigates Taba and Damiyat, the tanker Shatalin, two patrol boats and two F-16 fighters.

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