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Russia assumes command of Blackseafor

MOSCOW, August 5 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's Navy took over command of the Black Sea Naval Cooperation Task Group from Romania Saturday prior to an active phase of a Blackseafor exercise, the press service of the Russian Black Sea Fleet said.

Formally established at Turkey's initiative in 2001, Blackseafor - which comprises Turkey, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Georgia and Russia - conducts search and rescue operations, and environmental monitoring, and organizes goodwill visits among Black Sea countries. Its charter says Blackseafor can also be deployed for peacekeeping operations under a UN or OSCE mandate.

Captain I Rank Mikhail Sukhval who will coordinate Blackseafor's joint activities during the next year praised current contacts between the fleets of the Blackseafor countries.

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