Russia and China conduct preparations to joint naval exercises Joint Sea-2017. The first phase of the drills is to start in the Baltic Sea in late June before they continue in the middle of September in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk.
On July 11, in preparation for the exercises, a group of Chinese ships conducted firing exercises in the Mediterranean Sea. Ships of Russia's Baltic Fleet, in turn, started combat training exercises.
According to Xinhua News Agency, this year's drills will be held to train joint rescue operations and ensure security of economic activities at sea.
For the time being, a group of Chinese ships - a missile destroyer, a patrol ship and a supply vessel - remain on a training mission in the Mediterranean. The Russian-Chinese drills will start on July 20.
Several NATO countries have expressed their concerns about the Joint Sea-2017 drills. For example, the head of the Polish defense department, Anton Makherevich, stated that the strategic alliance of Russia and China "threatens the free world." Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linkevičius released a similar statement on the subject.
Newsweek and a number of European publications wrote that the joint Russian-Chinese drills were "a challenge to NATO in the Baltic Sea." The publications said that the drills at Europe's doorstep carry a political message to the United States saying that Russia and China will support and protect each other.
At the same time, NATO holds a variety of military exercises near the Russian border. Most recently, NATO drills took place in mid-June, on the border between Poland and Lithuania with the participation of US and British troops.
Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru