First Russian Warship Visit to Bangladesh in Half a Century

Russian warships last visited Bangladesh for a little-known operation to clear mines in Chittagong port.
  • Bureau
  • 06:03 AM, November 13, 2023
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First Russian Warship Visit to Bangladesh in Half a Century
Russian ship in Bangladesh port @Russian state media

A Russian naval group, led by the large anti-submarine warfare ships Admiral Tributs and Admiral Panteleyev, along with the oceanic tanker Pechenga, has docked at the port of Chittagong in Bangladesh.

This marks the first visit in nearly half a century, as reported by state-owned TASS News Agency.

Chittagong port, considered the main sea harbor in the South Asian country, witnessed the arrival of these combat ships, rekindling historical ties between Russia and Bangladesh.

Alexander Mantytskiy, the Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh, revealed that Russian combat ships had last visited the port 50 years ago as part of a mission to clear mines and assist the newly independent Bangladesh. Stressing the humanitarian aspect of the 1971 operation, he explained that after gaining independence, Chittagong port faced the aftermath of war, including mined waters and numerous sunken vessels.

"At that time, the group of Russian naval ships came here actually to save the young country that gained its independence in 1971 from a humanitarian catastrophe. After the war of independence, the port’s waters were mined and also tens of vessels were sunk there," the ambassador said.

Responding to Bangladesh's plea for help, the Soviet Union stood as the sole supporter for humanitarian reasons, initiating a mine-clearing operation that spanned from April 1972 to June 1974.

Tragically, a Russian naval diver lost his life during this operation, but the efforts of over 800 Soviet Navy sailors were successful. The port was liberated, enabling Chittagong to once again welcome vessels from around the world.

Ashik Imran, the Russian Honorary Consul in Chittagong, emphasized the historical significance of the recent visit by Russian naval sailors. He noted that this friendly visit underscores the current high level of relations between the two nations, symbolizing a renewed chapter in their diplomatic ties.

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