Russia and China staged big military drills in the Baltic, in the midst of ongoing tensions between Moscow and NATO in Eastern Europe.
Chinese naval forces are participating in major exercises, in their first joint operation in Europe.
As reported by RT, Chinese ships entered the Russian sea port of Baltiysk on Friday, the first phase began, with the active phase commencing on July 24.
The first stage of the joint exercise in the Baltic is set to last to July 28th, the second phase of Joint Sea maneuvers will be held in the Russian Far East, Sea of Japan, and the Sea of Okhotsk in September.
“This is the first visit of Chinese fleet in Baltiysk in the history of the Russian-Chinese relations,” Tass agency quoted Russian Baltic Fleet spokesman Roman Martov as saying.
China has sent some of its most advanced military vessels to participate in the joint sea maneuvers including the Type 052D missile destroyer Changsha, missile frigate Yungchen, and the Luomahu supply ship.
“The key goals of the exercises are to increase the efficiency in cooperation between the two fleets in countering security threats at sea, to train compatibility of the crews of Russian and Chinese warships, to strengthen friendship and cooperation between the Russian Navy and the Naval Forces of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army,” the Russian Defense Ministry saidin a statement. Joint Sea 2017 will include anti-submarine warfare and air defense drills.
While on its way to the Baltic, the Chinese vessels were escorted by British, Dutch, and Danish ships.
Following the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine between pro-Russian rebels and government in Kiev, NATO has drastically increased its military presence on Russian borders. NATO members countries staged big military drills in Romania, Poland and the Baltic countries, as a part of their strategy to deter ‘Russian aggression’.
Moscow, on the other hand, sees NATO’s military build-up in Eastern Europe as a threat to its national security. Russia has also greatly expanded its military capacities along its Western borders, but the Kremlin continues to deny Western accusations of involvement in the conflict in Ukraine.