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NOVOROSSIYSK, May 18. /TASS/. Russian and Chinese naval ships on Monday morning began a joint exercise in the eastern Mediterranean to practise measures to ensure the safety of shipping, the executive chief of the exercise Joint Sea-2015 for Russia, chief of the Navy’s combat training department, Rear Admiral Viktor Kochemazov, has told the media.
According to the official, "the Russian-Chinese force of ships is practising maneuvers in four tactical groups, anti-sabotage, anti-submarine, anti-ship and anti-air defense protection on the move."
"These tasks are performed within the framework of the planned phase of the exercise called Operations to Ensure the Safety of Shipping in Remote Areas of the World Ocean," he said.
Alongside that, Russian and Chinese naval ships practise radiation, chemical and biological protection of the joint force," he said.
When the dusk sets in, the group will be engaged in night-time maneuvering, he added.
The results of each passing day are reported in a video conference mode and through special communication channels to the Russian and Chinese chiefs of the exercise - deputy commander of the Russian Navy, Vice-Admiral Aleksandr Fedotenkov and deputy commander of the Chinese Navy Vice-Admiral Du Jingchen, and also to the exercise’s headquarters.
Kochemazov recalled that the joint task force consisted of The Moskva guided missile cruiser , The Ladny escort ship, The Alexander Shabalin and The Alexander Otrakovsky amphibious assault ships, The Samum hovercraft, a salvage tug, and China’s frigates the Linyi and The Weifang and a logistics ship. Earlier, plans were announced for replacing The Ladny escort ship by The Pytlivy, which is already on the way from Sevastopol.
The escort ship Pytlivy from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet will join the Russian Navy’s grouping in the Mediterranean Sea to replace the Ladny frigate on a rotating basis, Fleet spokesman Captain First Rank Vyacheslav Trukhachyov said on Monday.
"Today the escort ship Pytlivy of the Black Sea Fleet has left Sevastopol and is heading for the Black Sea straits. Pytlivy is expected to join the Navy’s permanent Mediterranean ship grouping already tomorrow to replace the Black Sea Fleet’s escort ship Ladny on a rotating basis," the spokesman said.
Russia created its permanent Mediterranean naval task force in 2013. The task force comprises Black Sea Fleet’s combat ships, with 5-6 ships concurrently operating in the sea.
During the Soviet period, the USSR maintained the 5th squadron of combat ships in the Mediterranean Sea. It was disbanded on December 31, 1992, a year after the break-up of the Soviet Union.