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MOSCOW, May 15. /TASS/. The Black Sea Fleet’s Moskva guided missile cruiser has started passing through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits for joint drills with the Chinese navy in the Mediterranean Sea, Russian Navy spokesman Capitan First Rank Igor Dygalo said on Friday.
The Russian and Chinese navies will hold the active phase of their drills dubbed Joint Sea 2015 in the Mediterranean Sea on May 17-21.
The Moskva guided missile cruiser left the Russian Black Sea Fleet’s main naval base in Sevastopol on May 14 and is heading for participation in the joint Russia-China drills, the spokesman said.
"During the period of the naval exercises, the Moskva Guards Missile Cruiser will accommodate the field headquarters of the command of the united ship grouping at sea. The Moskva cruiser will be the place for exercising direct command of ships during the accomplishment of missions in accordance with the Joint Sea 2015 Russian-Chinese naval drills in a designated area of the Mediterranean Sea," Dygalo said.
The Moskva cruiser is expected to pass the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits area in the Black Sea by the end of Friday.
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 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.".