Russia and China are set to conduct joint naval drills featuring military aircraft and warships from both sides, including one of Beijing’s most advanced destroyers.
In a Tuesday statement, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Baltic Sea phase of the naval drills, codenamed Joint Sea 2017, starting Friday, will involve about a dozen warships in addition to military aircraft and helicopters, RT reported.
The naval base of Baltiysk in Russia’s Kaliningrad region will receive the Chinese naval forces in an official welcoming ceremony on July 21.
The active phase of the maneuvers will be held between July 24 and 27. 
“The main goals of the exercises are to increase the efficiency in cooperation between the two fleets in countering security threats at sea, to train compatibility of the crews of Russian and Chinese warships, to strengthen friendship and cooperation between the Russian Navy and the Naval Forces of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army,” the Russian ministry said.
Earlier, Chinese media reported that Beijing has deployed the Changsha, the second advanced Type 052D guided missile destroyer, which was commissioned just two years ago. The warship will be accompanied by the missile frigate Yuncheng and the Luoma Lake supply ship.
Last week, on their way to the Baltic, the Chinese fleet engaged in live-fire drills in the Mediterranean.
The second phase of the wargames will take place in September, when the Chinese navy will join Russian warships in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk.
The Chinese and Russian navies have been staging their Joint Sea maneuvers since 2012. Last year, an active stage of the drills was conducted in the South China Sea.
Xinhua reported last month that this year’s edition of the joint drills with Russia would “improve coordination between the two navies on joint defense operations at sea.”
It added that the main objective was “to consolidate and advance the Sino-Russian comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, and deepen friendly and practical cooperation between the two militaries.”

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