MOSCOW, May 14. /TASS/. A group of warships from the Russian and Chinese navies have started passing through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits for joint drills in the Mediterranean Sea, the press office of Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Thursday.
The drills dubbed Joint Sea 2015 will hold their active phase in the Mediterranean Sea on May 17-21.
"A group of combat ships comprising the Linyi and Weifang frigates from the Chinese Navy and the Samum missile-carrying hovercraft of the Russian Black Sea Fleet started passing through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits area in the Black Sea at 15:00 hours," the press office said.
Over the past twenty-four hours, the warships from the Russian and Chinese navies have practised joint maneuvering and air defense, the press office said.
The Joint Sea 2015 drills will involve nine warships, including the Linyi and Weifang frigates and a support vessel from the Chinese navy. Russia’s navy will be represented by the Moskva guided missile cruiser, the Ladny escort ship, the Alexander Otrakovsky and Alexander Shabalin large amphibious assault ships, the Samum missile-carrying hovercraft and a salvage tug.
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 May 7.
"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 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 last week 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.
China’s Defense Ministry said earlier the sailors would practice "maritime defense, maritime replenishment, escort actions, joint operations to safeguard navigation security as well as real weapon firing drill."