Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his naval forces stationed in the Middle East to closely cooperate with the French navy as the two countries step up an anti-terror offensive against the Islamic State (Isis) in the wake of Paris attacks. The move came after a telephone call between Putin and his French counterpart Francois Hollande.
Putin instructed the Moskva missile cruiser to establish contact with the incoming French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the Mediterranean. The flagship French vessel is set to reach the Persian Gulf as part of France's intensified anti-IS operation.
"A French aircraft carrier task force is to approach your area soon. You are to establish direct contact with the French counterparts and cooperate with them as with allies," said the Russian president. "It is essential to draw up a plan for joint operations on the sea and in the air."
The two countries also decided to draft a ministerial-level joint declaration on the ongoing counter-terror operations via the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Kremlin has said the Paris attacks and a plane crash in Egypt that Moscow calls a "terror act", have brought the two countries closer.
"It is true that Putin and Hollande raised the theme of interaction in carrying out military operations in Syria during their telephone conversation. Putin issued an instruction to establish such contacts in continuation of this agreement," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
"It was decided to ensure closer contacts and improve coordination of actions between the military agencies and security services of the two countries as part of operations which Russia and France are carrying out against terrorist groups in Syria."
Meanwhile, both countries have also sharply accelerated their airstrikes in Syria. However, France and Russia are not yet coordinating their airstrikes in Syria.