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MOSCOW, May 8. /TASS/. A group of Chinese combat ships has arrived for the first time at Russia’s Novorossiysk naval base on an official visit, Russian Navy spokesman Captain First Rank Igor Dygalo said on Friday.
"The group of combat ships comprises the Linyi and Weifang escort vessels," the spokesman said.
As the Chinese ships entered the Tsemess Bay, a Salute of Nations was fired from 21 artillery guns aboard the ships and a costal battery of the Novorossiysk naval base fired a return salute from 21 guns.
Russian Navy Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Vice-Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov and Chinese Navy Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Vice-Admiral Du Czinchen took part in the ceremony of receiving China’s combat ships in Novorossiysk. The reception ceremony was also attended by the Novorossiysk city administration and officers of the joint command of Russia-China naval drills scheduled to take part in the Mediterranean Sea.
The group of the Chinese combat ships will participate in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Soviet Victory over Nazi Germany in WWII.
On Russia’s behalf, the Pytlivy escort ship and the Samum missile-carrying hovercraft of the Black Sea Fleet will participate in the May 9 festivities in the Hero City of Novorossiysk, which was the scene of fierce fighting between Soviet troops and fascist invaders during the Soviet Union’s Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, Russian Navy Chief Viktor Chirkov said on Friday.
After the festivities, the Chinese combat ships will sail together with Russian warships to the Mediterranean Sea for naval drills dubbed Joint Sea 2015.
The ceremony of opening the drills will take place in Novorossiysk on May 11 while the active phase of the naval exercises will take place on May 16-21 in the Mediterranean Sea.
Russia and China have set up headquarters at Russia’s Novorossiysk naval base to exercise command and control over Joint Sea 2015 naval drills, Russian Navy spokesman Captain First Rank Igor Dygalo said on Thursday.
"In order to exercise control over the Joint Sea 2015 drills, which will be held in the Mediterranean Sea in the second ten-day period of May, a joint command of the exercises has been set up along with the joint command headquarters and the headquarters of the grouping at sea and the command posts of the participating ships' tactical groups," the spokesman said.
The joint command and its headquarters will be located at the Divnomorskoye coordination center near Novorossiysk. The headquarters of the combat ships’ grouping and the tactical groups’ command posts will be located aboard the ships, the Russian Navy spokesman said.
The joint command will include officers from the Russian and Chinese navies. Command and control of the joint drills will be exercised by Russian Navy Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Vice-Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov and Chinese Navy Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Vice-Admiral Du Czinchen.
Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday the subject of the joint drills was the protection of navigation safety in the remote areas of the World Ocean.
"The main aim of the exercises is to further deepen friendly and practical interaction between the two countries and strengthen joint efforts for countering naval security threats at sea," the ministry said.
The Russia-China naval drills "are not aimed against any third country and have no relation to the political situation in the region," the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The Joint Sea 2015 exercises will involve about 10 warships from the Russian and Chinese navies, Russia's Defense Ministry said.
China’s Defense Ministry said earlier nine surface ships would take part in the joint naval drills, including the Linyi, Weifang and Weishanhu warships from the Chinese navy.
The sailors will practice "maritime defense, maritime replenishment, escort actions, joint operations to safeguard navigation security as well as real weapon firing drill.".