Last week Russia and Greece signed an intergovernmental agreement on military cooperation, during the visit of Russian Defense minister Sergei Shoigu to Athens.
It is worth of mentioning that this visit was conducted just before Athens will take the Presidency of EU for the next 6 months staring in 1.1.2014. Greece is NATO’s only member country to pursue fruitful military technological cooperation with Russia.
“We signed an agreement that opens new frameworks and new boundaries for our further work in the sphere of military-technical cooperation,” Sergei Shoigu told journalists after talks with his Greek counterpart Dimitrios Avramopoulos in Athens.
The deal concerns armaments supplied previously as well as military hardware, maintenance and new hardware supplies, Shoigu said.
A Russian deputy defense minister, Anatoly Antonov, said after the talks that Shoigu had proposed that Avramopoulos consider working out an agreement to streamline the procedure for Russian navy vessels calling at Greek ports.
Antonov said the two defense ministers had also discussed the possibility of holding personnel training events and exchanging experience in the fight against terrorism and piracy, as well as other areas of cooperation.
This new agreement will make it easier for Russian ships to dock at Greek port during their deployment in the Mediterranean thus making Greece a reliable alternative to the Syrian port Tartus.
According to Greek blog SManalysis, Russia will help Greek Navy to support the Zubr class hovercraft. Greek Navy has procured 4 of these air-cushioned landing craft. Three of them joined the Greek Navy in 2001 and the last one in 2005. They have a displacement of 550 tons and can carry up to 130 tons military material: 3 main battle tanks or 10 armored personnel carriers or 230 troops.
One of them was decommissioned in 2010 and the operational status of the remainder was dubious.