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5 Sep, 2007 01:31

Russia and China 'hit' terrorists together

Russian and Chinese Special Forces are holding combined anti-terrorist exercises near Moscow. They're practicing ways of dealing with hostage situations. It is the first time elite Chinese Special Forces have been seen in public.

The combined three-day counter-terrorism exercise between Russian and Chinese Special Forces, is code-named “Cooperation 2007”.

“According to the scenario a building with hostages was seized. Among these hostages there are Chinese citizens. And therefore we've called for a combined operation,” Vasiliy Panchenkov, Russia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs Press Attaché, explained.

Both countries are struggling against international terrorism.

And the co-operation between these large neighbouring nations in this sensitive area appears to be gathering pace.

It's the second combined counter-terrorism exercise within a month. The first one was held at Chelyabinsk at the beginning of August.

The Russian and Chinese Interior Ministers arrived for the start of the maneouvres.

“These common exercises could be seen as a vital step in practical cooperation against terror,” Rashid Nurgaliev, Russian Internal Affairs Minister, said.

The exercises are maximally close to reality. Even the press is there. For the first two days, according to the scenario, anti-terrorism groups make contact with the hostage-takers and keep the situation under control.This is followed by the storming of the building on the final day.

The experience that these troops are gaining just outside Moscow could prove to be of vital importance. In particular, when millions of people flock to both the Beijing Olympics next year, and the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.