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Russian frigate Admiral Gorshkov makes historic visit to Saudi Arabia

5 April, JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia has welcomed the first ever visit of a Russian warship to its shores, as the frigate Admiral Gorshkov docked in Jeddah Islamic Port on Wednesday.

The 135-meter vessel, armed with guided missiles, was on its way back to its home base of Severomorsk in northwestern Russia after a long voyage that included naval exercises with China, Iran and South Africa in the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea.

The frigate stopped in Jeddah for two days of “crew rest and refueling”, according to Andrey Brekhovskikh, a media attache at the Russian embassy in Riyadh.

He told Arab News that the frigate also conducted training on March 13 in the Indian Ocean, focusing on seeking and destroying submarines with its Ka-27 series helicopter.

The Admiral Gorshkov, which can carry state-of-the-art Zircon hypersonic cruise missiles, has demonstrated its capabilities in various drills during its journey.

In January, it practiced a Zircon missile strike on a target simulating an enemy warship at a distance of more than 900 kilometers in the western Atlantic Ocean, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

In February, it participated in joint drills with the navies of South Africa and China off South African coasts.

The frigate was scheduled to depart Saudi Arabia on Friday and head to Tartus, Syria for maintenance.

The historic visit of the Russian warship to Saudi Arabia reflects the growing ties between the two countries, which have been cooperating on various fields, including energy, trade and security.

In October 2023, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud paid a landmark visit to Russia, where he met with President Vladimir Putin and signed several agreements.

The two countries have also been coordinating their efforts to stabilize the global oil market through the OPEC+ alliance.

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