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Russia, China begin joint naval drills in Mediterranean
January 25, 2014, 5:03 pm

A Russian-Chinese naval training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea began on Saturday [Image Courtesy: Defence Ministry, China]

A Russian-Chinese naval training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea began on Saturday [Image Courtesy: Defence Ministry, China]

A Russian-Chinese naval training exercise in the Mediterranean Sea began on Saturday involving the Russian nuclear-powered cruiser Pyotr Veliky and China’s Yancheng frigate, Russia’s Defense Ministry announced.

The exercise, which began with a gathering of the ships and accompanying speedboats, is being performed to reinforce co-maneuvering, air defense collaboration as well as naval helicopter landings on the different countries’ ships, the ministry’s press service said.

The exercise is focused on “raising the level of operational compatibility between Russian and Chinese military ships during joint actions in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea,” the ministry said.

Russian heavy nuclear missile cruiser Peter the Great and the Chinese frigate Yancheng have just escorted the first consignment of precursors for chemical weapons transported from Syria on board a Danish ship.

Russia has a Mediterranean naval base at the Syrian port city of Tartus.

Both Moscow and Beijing seem keen to expand involvement in the area. The Russian President asserted last summer that the Mediterranean Sea is deemed as a “strategically important region, where we have interests connected with ensuring Russia’s national security.”

Russia will keep at least a dozen naval ships in the Mediterranean in order to ensure its national security, Putin said.

“It is an indication of just how unstable the Mediterranean Sea has become with the advent of Arab Spring and Western interventions in the region. Putin’s words should be interpreted that Russia’s national interests in the Mediterranean are of a defensive nature,” Peter Lavelle, host of CrossTalk program at RT told The BRICS Post.

Moscow and Beijing held a series of joint military drills in July under the aegis of the Shanghai Cooperation organisation in the Peter the Great Gulf in the Sea of Japan. The exercise named “Joint Sea – 2013” was China’s largest military drills with a foreign partner.

 

TBP and Agencies

 

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