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Russian Warship Docks in Sihanoukville to Strengthen Military Relations

SIHANOUKVILLE: A Russian submarine destroyer docked at the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port on Sunday as the country was enveloped in Water Festival celebrations. The Admiral Panteleyev 548 and its crew of 388 docked in Cambodia from November 26-29 as the ship tours the Asia-Pacific region to strengthen military partnerships. Led by Admiral Roman Mokhov, the Admiral Panteleyev is the fleet’s largest anti-submarine ship with a home base in Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean. According to Russia’s Ministry of Defense, it carried out anti-submarine exercises in November of last year in the Sea of Japan, where it fired simulated torpedos at a mock enemy submarine.

In March, former Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed concern over the increased submarine production in Australia after the country signed the AUKUS agreement with the United Kingdom and the United States. The deal aims to increase the production capacity of nuclear-powered submarines in Australia, which sparked a backlash from China, further stoking tensions in the South Pacific. While China and Russia have no formal alliance, relations between the two countries have continued to deepen, especially as China becomes Russia’s fastest-growing trading partner since it launched the war in Ukraine. China’s defense ministry recently noted a level of “strategic mutual trust” between the two countries’ militaries following joint combat exercises.

During the visit, Admiral Roman Mokhov will pay courtesy calls on the Cambodian Commander of Ream Naval Base, and the manager of Sihanoukville Autonomous Port. The US has been openly suspect of the Ream Naval Base, accusing China of upgrading its capacity so that the Chinese Navy can have a port to access the Indian Ocean and expand ownership of the South China Sea. The Cambodian government has refuted any claim that China intends to establish a military presence in the country.

Russian Ambassador Anatoly Borovik said that the Russian warship’s visit is meant to strengthen ties between the Russian and Cambodian navies. The visit included a friendly volleyball match between the two sides.

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