Ceremony in Black Sea kicks off historic Russia-China naval exercise in Mediterranean

Ceremony in Black Sea kicks off historic Russia-China naval exercise in Mediterranean
Ships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet pass in review in 2008. (Image via Voices of Russia)

Russia hosted Chinese ships in the Black Sea base of Novorossiysk on Monday ahead of weeklong exercises between the two navies in the Mediterranean Sea. While the exercise is small in scale, it’s symbolic of growing ties between Beijing and Moscow, and shows China’s growing stature as a maritime force. …

China will bring two 054A/Jiangkai II class missile frigates – the Linya and Weifang – as well as the supply ship Weishanhu. About six Russian vessels are taking part in the training that will include live firing, safety drills and escort missions. …

China has recently demonstrated its desire to play a greater role on the international stage with the West by providing 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.

For Russia, the exercise will also go some way toward reestablishing its own Mediterranean presence, which has lapsed since the end of the Cold War, and further its reach toward Europe’s borders.

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