|Russian and Chinese naval warships are holding joint exercises in the Baltic Sea for the first time, underscoring deepening military cooperation between the two powers.|
China’s Hefei destroyer, Yuncheng frigate and Lomahu supply vessel are involved in drills with two Russian corvettes that include “artillery fire at surface and air targets”. Helicopters and Su-24 bombers will also be involved in the “anti-aircraft and anti-ship defense measures” coordinated from the Baltiysk base in Russia’s Kaliningrad enclave.
|Russia has strengthened defense cooperation with China, particularly after the U.S. and European Union imposed sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis in 2014. Russian and Chinese warships conducted their first combined drills in the Mediterranean Sea in May 2015, followed three months later by maneuvers involving 22 combat ships and 20 aircraft off Russia’s Pacific coast. Similar exercises that included “island seizing” took place in the South China Sea last September.|