Russia Will Hold Naval Exercise in Mediterranean

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Russia will hold two naval exercises in the eastern Mediterranean beginning next week, according to Turkey’s navy, a move that could fuel escalating tensions in the energy-rich region.

The Russian navy will hold firing exercises between Sept. 8-22 and Sept. 17-25, a Turkish navy website said late Wednesday. It urged Russia not to interfere with seismic work by Turkish survey ships south of the Greek island of Kastellorizo and off Cyprus’s Karpas peninsula.

The exercises would come after Turkey condemned the U.S. for easing a decades-old arms embargo on Cyprus, saying the move could increase tensions over its territorial disputes with Greece and Cyprus. Ankara urged Washington to reverse course, saying it would otherwise take “reciprocal steps” to safeguard the Turkish Cypriot people in Cyprus.

Turkey is at loggerheads with the U.S. and other NATO allies over its purchase of the S-400 missile-defense system from Moscow. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Russia was intending to send a message of support for Turkey with the planned exercises in the Mediterranean.