The Ioniex-2013 Russian-Italian naval exercises have been launched in Taranto, Italy, Russian Black Sea Fleet spokesman Captain 1st Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachyov told Interfax-AVN on Tuesday.
"The Black Sea Fleet's surveillance ship Smetlivy, which is a member of the Russian Navy's group of ships deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, arrived at the Italian port of Taranto to join the Ioniex-2013 Russian-Italian naval maneuvers," he said.
The Russian Navy has contributed a destroyer, a frigate, a submarine and naval aircraft to the exercises, he added.
Following the visits required by the event's protocol, a pre-deployment conference and working sessions, the ship crews launched the first phase of the exercises, which envisions operations on the coast.
The drills in Taranto will involve simulated efforts to establish contact, respond to aerial situations, protect the sides' forces from asymmetric threats, as well as examine a suspicious vessel and question its crew, Trukhachyov said.
During the event, the crews of the Russian and Italian warships will exchange visits and will hold an indoor soccer competition.
The Ioniex-2013 exercises will continue in the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea from November 7 to November 9, Trukhachyov said.
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