MURMANSK, April 28 (RIA Novosti)
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- Russia drops role in NATO's Med Sea operation to focus on piracy fight off Somalia
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Russia has formed an anti-piracy naval task force in the Mediterranean, the Northern Fleet press service said on Saturday.
The force, to be led by the Udaloy class destroyer Vice Admiral Kulakov, will combat piracy in the most dangerous part of the world’s oceans, press chief Vadim Serga said.
The task force will arrive in the Gulf of Aden in early May to join an anti-piracy mission off the Somali coast.
The new task force will replace the Russian Pacific Fleet’s task force led by the Admiral Tributs destroyer. The Admiral Tributs, the Pechenega tanker and a rescue tugboat arrived in the Gulf of Aden on January 12 and escorted five convoys of commercial ships since then.
Task forces from the Russian Navy, usually led by Udaloy class destroyers, operate in the area on a rotating basis.
Russian warships have successfully escorted more than 130 commercial vessels from various countries through pirate-infested waters off the Somali coast since 2008, when Russia joined the international anti-piracy mission in the region.
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Earlier this month, Russia hosted the Fourth International Meeting of the Arctic Council at Naryan-Mar, a seaport in the Barents Sea, to discuss issues relating to the infrastructure and safety of ships passing through the Northern Sea Route (NSR).