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Russia, China Hold Joint Drills in Mediterranean To Strengthen Mutual Understanding Between the Navies

May 17, 2015 (EIRNS)—In the first-ever exhibition of strengthening mutual understanding, the Russian and Chinese navies have begun "Sea-Cooperation—2015," a military exercise in the Mediterranean that will last until May 21. Reuters reported Moscow’s Defense Ministry saying a headquarters for the exercises had been set up aboard the missile cruiser Moskva, which belongs to the Black Sea Fleet with its base in Crimea. Nine Russian and Chinese naval vessels are involved in this exercise. China will bring two 054A/Jiangkai II class missile frigates—the Linya and Weifang—as well as the supply ship Weishanhu.

International Business Times on May 11 quoted the press service of the Russian Defense Ministry as saying:

"An official opening ceremony took place this morning in Novorossiysk. The joint drills are not aimed against third parties and are not connected with the political situation in that region. The Joint Sea will feature about 10 combat ships of various classes from Russia and China."

The exercise comes at a pivotal time for both countries as the Europeans and the Obama administration are exuding open hostility toward Moscow through economic and political sanctions. China has openly resented the U.S. Navy’s pivot towards Asia by demonstrating its desire to play a greater role on the international stage. China has provided ships for anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden, a role that ships from the U.S. Navy and European navies have traditionally fulfilled.

In addition, Malay Mail Online reported today from Dushanbe that Russia has deployed about 500 troops among some 2,500 personnel from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) for drills in Tajikistan with its ex-Soviet allies,

"in a show of force as anxiety grows over a surge in fighting in neighboring Afghanistan. The move is seen in the western capitals as re-enforcing Moscow’s role as the main guarantor of the fragile region’s security after U.S. troops leave Afghanistan."