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Russia to hold military drills in Egypt this month

Exercise will see Putin’s airborne troops on Egyptian soil for first time

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, greets Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Moscow, Russia, August 2015. (Mohammed Abdel Moatey/MENA via AP)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, greets Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in Moscow, Russia, August 2015. (Mohammed Abdel Moatey/MENA via AP)

Russia and Egypt will hold joint military drills involving airborne troops on Egyptian soil for the first time this month, the Russian defence ministry said Tuesday.

“The joint Russian-Egyptian drills will happen in mid-October 2016 on the territory of Egypt,” it said, without specifying their start date.

The drills, called “Protectors of Friendship-2016”, will include 500 troops, 15 planes and helicopters and 10 military hardware units, the ministry said, describing the exercises as “anti-terrorist”.

“The airborne delivery by parachute of several Russian airborne troops’ сombat vehicles to the desert climate of Egypt will occur for the first time in history,” the ministry said.

Last year Russia and Egypt held their first-ever joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean, which included the Black Sea fleet’s flagship Moskva missile cruiser.

Russia has been waging an aerial bombing campaign in Syria for the past year in support of the Syrian government, part of the multi-front war that has claimed some 300,000 lives and has seen Moscow further estranged from the West.

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