Russian and Venezuelan warships will conduct a series of joint naval exercises in the Caribbean, involving sea rescue operations, maneuvering, and live-ammunition artillery drills. (VIDEO)
"Three frigates, a transport amphibious vessel, four patrol boats, and four coastal defense vessels will take part in the exercise on the Venezuelan side," Rear Adm. Salvatore Cammarata said.
He added that a total of 700 Venezuelan servicemen would take part in the drills.
A group of warships from Russia's Northern Fleet arrived on Tuesday at the Venezuelan port of La Guaira.
The task force, led by the Pyotr Veliky missile cruiser, is on a planned visit that follows a two-month tour of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, which saw Russian ships visiting Libya, Turkey and France.
The group includes the Udaloy class destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and two support vessels with a total of about 1,600 naval infantrymen on board.
The exercises will be conducted in line with bilateral agreements and in accordance with international maritime law. They will be held in an area beyond Venezuela's territorial waters, about 150 nautical miles from the South American country's coast.
All shipping in the area will be halted for the duration of the exercises, subject to special notice due at the end of November.
After its visit to Venezuela, the Russian task force is due to take part in an exercise with ships from Russia's Pacific Fleet in the Indian Ocean.