Russia, China to Hold Joint Sea 2017 Naval Drills This Week

Russian Navy and China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) will conduct the first stage of Joint Sea 2017 bilateral naval drills off the Baltic coast this week, the RT reported citing a Russian Ministry of Defence statement.

The Baltic phase of the exercise, starting Friday, will involve about a dozen warships in addition to military aircraft and helicopters from both sides, the Russian defense ministry said in a statement.

“The main aims of the exercise are to increase the efficiency in cooperation of the two fleets to counter threats to security at sea, train compatibility of the crews of Russian and Chinese combat ships, strengthen friendship and cooperation between the Russian Navy and the Naval Forces of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army,” the Defense Ministry said.

According to the ministry, Chinese fleet is scheduled to arrive in the naval base of Baltiysk in Russia’s Kaliningrad region on July 21 for an official welcoming ceremony. The active phase of the joint naval drills in the Baltic Sea will be held between July 24 and 27.

The PLAN has deployed its most advanced warship, the Changsha (DDG-173) Type 052D (Luyang III / Kunming class) guided missile destroyer, for the exercise.

Changsha will be accompanied by Yancheng (FFG-546), a Type 054A (Jiangkai II – class) frigate and Luomahu (964), a Type 903 (Qiandaohu-class) replenishment ship.

Last week, on their way to the Baltic, the Chinese fleet engaged in live-fire drills in the Mediterranean.

After the conclusion of the first phase of the drills off the Baltic coast, the Chinese Navy will join Russian ships in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk in September for the second phase of the Russian-Chinese exercises.

The first Joint Sea naval exercises were held in 2012. Last year, an active stage of the drills was conducted in the South China Sea, a highly tense and one of the most contested region in the world.

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