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The Russian navy will be replenished with five new submarines at once – three nuclear-powered and two diesel ones. Two more nuclear-powered submarines will also return to service following repairs and modernisation, Russian media has claimed.

Alexei Rakhmanov, general director of the United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC), told RIA Novosti, there is also a plan to conclude state contracts for the construction of new series of submarines.

Russia is celebrating the 117th anniversary of its submarine fleet today.

The holiday Day of the Submariner was approved in Russia in 1996 by order of the Commander-in-Chief of the Navy.

The date of March 19 was set to commemorate the separation of submarines in the Russian fleet into an independent class of warships, which was formalised by decree of Emperor Nicholas II in 1906.

The announcement comes as naval forces from China, Iran and Russia — countries at odds with the United States — have been staging joint drills in the Gulf of Oman this week, China’s Defence Ministry said Tuesday.

Other countries also took part in the “Security Bond-2023” exercises, the ministry said without giving details. Iran, Pakistan, Oman and the United Arab Emirates all have coastline along the waterbody lying at the mouth of the strategic Persian Gulf.

“This exercise will help deepen practical cooperation between the participating countries’ navies … and inject positive energy into regional peace and stability,” the ministry statement said.

US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Wednesday that the White House was not concerned by the joint training exercise. Kirby said the U.S. and other nations conduct training exercises all the time and this won’t be the first time that the Russians and Chinese have trained together.

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“We’re going to watch it, we’ll monitor it, obviously, to make sure that there’s no threat resulting from this training exercise to our national security interests or those of our allies and partners in the region,” Kirby said on CNN. “But nations train. We do it all the time. We’ll watch it as best we can.”

The exercises scheduled for Wednesday through Sunday came amid heightened tensions between the US and China over a range of issues, including China’s refusal to criticise Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine and continuing support for the Russian economy.

The US and its allies have condemned the invasion, imposed punishing economic sanctions on Russia and supplied Ukraine with defensive arms. Iran and the US have been adversaries since the founding of the Islamic Republic in 1979 and the taking of US diplomats as hostages.

China has dispatched the guided missile destroyer Nanning to take part in the drills centred on search and rescue at sea and other non-combat missions. China maintains its only foreign military base, complete with a navy pier, in the Horn of Africa country of Djibouti, located just across the Gulf of Oman.

The three countries held similar drills last year and in 2019, underscoring China’s growing military and political links with nations that have been largely shunned by the US and its partners.

Last week, China hosted talks between Iran and its chief Middle Eastern rival Saudi Arabia that resulted in an agreement between them Friday to restore full diplomatic relations after seven years of tensions.