The US and Russian navies have begun the Pacific Eagle-2011 joint anti-terrorism exercises near the Mariana Islands, Russian Pacific Fleet spokesman Roman Martov said.

The Russian Navy’s Varyag guided missile cruiser, the Irkut tanker and a salvage tugboat will participate in the exercise alongside 500 US 7th Fleet personnel, guided missile destroyers, USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and USS McCampbell (DDG 85).

The Pacific Eagle-2011 exercise includes a series of maritime activities in two phases; an in-port phase and an at-sea phase in the Philippine Sea.

The exercise will also involve naval ship manoeuvring and communications drills at sea as well as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions.

Russia shares common interests with the US in the Pacific that include weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism and regional stability.