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MOSCOW, May 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Six warships from Russia's Pacific Fleet, led by a missile cruiser, the Varyag, entered on Monday Shanghai’s port of Wusong ahead of the joint naval drills with China, code-named Joint Sea 2014 and running on May 20-26 in the northern waters of the East China Sea, a spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Besides the Varyag, a Slava-class missile cruiser with anti-aircraft and anti-submarine striking capabilities, the grouping of Russian warships includes the destroyer Bystry, the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev, the large amphibious ship Admiral Nevelskoy, the tanker Ilim and the sea-going tugboat Kalar.
The Russian side also brought two combat helicopters and special task marine forces for the exercise, while the Chinese Navy put six warships.
China’s CCTV.com cited on Sunday Deputy Commander-in-Chief of the Chinese Navy Tian Zhong as saying that the exercise would be “different from previous China-Russia joint sea drills.”“The two sides will mix all the warships together for the first time, and the ships will carry out battle exercises beyond visibility for the first time,” Tian Zhong was quoted as saying.
Chinese Defense Ministry earlier reported that the Joint Sea 2014 drills are regular exercises held by the Chinese and Russian navies, and are aimed to enhance practical co-operation between the two militaries and to strengthen their capabilities to jointly deal with maritime security threats.”
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.
The upcoming drills coincide with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to China on May 20. The Russian president is scheduled to meet with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping and attend a regional summit.