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VLADIVOSTOK, May 07. /ITAR-TASS/. Warships from Russia's Pacific Fleet went to sea for preparations off Russia's Far East coast on Wednesday, planning joint naval drills with China later in the month, the fleet’s press service reported.
Vessels led by a missile cruiser, the Varyag, will practice maneuvers, helicopter deck landings and search-and-rescue operations alongside live-fire drills on sea and air targets, the announcement said.
The Varyag, a Slava-class missile cruiser with anti-aircraft and anti-submarine striking capabilities, will lead the Pacific Fleet force toward Shanghai in mid-May for South China Sea exercises code-named Joint Sea 2014.
Exact drill dates have not been officially announced yet but China's Defense Ministry confirmed last week that they would be held in late May, aimed at enhancing cooperation between the Russian and Chinese militaries.
“The Joint Sea 2014 drills are regular exercises held by Chinese and Russian navies, and are aimed at enhancing practical cooperation between the two militaries and to strengthen their capabilities to jointly deal with maritime security threats,” Xinhua news agency reported last Thursday, citing a statement from China's Defense Ministry.
The two nations held naval drills off Russia’s Far East coast in the Sea of Japan last July. Exercises assembling some 20 warships from Russia’s Pacific Fleet and China’s North and South Sea Fleets were described by China as the largest the country had undertaken with a foreign force.