Russia will continue its anti-piracy missions with Russian warships patrolling commercial shipping routes off the Somali coast, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has said.

The president cited two reasons for the nation to remain committed and to continue its international obligations in the Gulf of Aden.

“Primarily, we must protect our commercial ships and, under agreements with other countries, the ships sailing under foreign flags. Secondly, it helps our naval personnel to maintain combat readiness,” he added.

The number of pirate attacks in the Gulf has decreased by 34% in the first half of 2010, largely due to the anti-piracy operation off the Somali coast, according to the International Maritime Bureau (IMB).

Russia joined the international anti-piracy efforts in the area in October 2008, with warships operating on a rotation basis, according to RIA Novosti.