Russia and Egypt are holding their first-ever joint naval exercises, the defence ministry said Wednesday, in a bid to strengthen ties amid Moscow’s confrontation with the West.

“The active phase of joint Russian-Egyptian naval exercises called The Bridge of Friendship-2015 started today in the Mediterranean Sea near the shores of Egypt,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

Several Russian naval vessels including the Moskva missile cruiser, the corvette Samum, the tanker Ivan Bubnov and landing ship Alexander Shabalin are participating in the exercises set to run until June 14. […]