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From Russia for drills

Two warships from Russia docked in Preah Sihanouk province on Tuesday and will be here through Sunday as part of an effort to strengthen defence cooperation between both countries, with navy forces from both nations conducting a military drill today, officials said yesterday.

Ros Veasna, deputy commander of Cambodia’s navy, confirmed that the Russian ships Admiral Panteleyev and Boris Butoma, “will port in Cambodia . . . with the intention to visit and exchange experiences between Cambodian and Russian marines”.

Eduard Mikhailov, leader of the two ships and commander of the Russian navy in the Pacific region, met with Preah Sihanouk provincial leaders and senior officials at Cambodia’s navy headquarters yesterday, according to Ov Sareoun, head of the Information Department in Preah Sihanouk.

Mikhailov is also scheduled to meet with Cambodian Defence Minister Tea Banh on Saturday. He will also visit Siem Reap before departing Cambodia. “During their stay in Cambodia, the navy forces of both countries will conduct a military drill on counterterrorism, piracy and disaster relief,” Sareoun said, adding that both forces will also take part in sporting matches.

The drills will take place today at Koh Rong and Koh Takiev, according to a copy of the visit’s agenda. Officials at the Russian Embassy didn’t respond to requests for comment and Chum Socheat, spokesman for the Ministry of Defence in Cambodia, couldn’t be reached.

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