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A group of Chinese naval warships arrived at the port of Baltiysk in the Russian Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad to participate in naval exercises called Joint Sea-2017. NATO has been very concerned with the militarization of Kaliningrad as NATO commanders see a direct threat to the Baltic members of the alliance, the former Soviet republics of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
“The Chinese naval group includes the frigate Yuncheng and the supply vessel Luoma Lake, apart from the destroyer Hefei,” said Baltic Fleet spokesman Roman Martov, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
The Chinese and Russian commanders made the obligatory announcement that the drills were not directed at any one country. The exercises are the first between the Chinese Navy and the Russian Baltic Fleet.
The Baltic Fleet’s corvettes Steregushchiy and Boiky, a rescue tug and shipborne Kamov Ka-27 multipurpose helicopters, Sukhoi Su-24 tactical frontline bombers and Antonov An-26 military and transport planes will represent the Russian Navy in the joint drills, reports TASS.
The naval war games with China are coming prior to the massive Russian military exercise Zapad 2017 which will involve tens of thousands of Russian troops and a large number of armored vehicles, ships, and aircraft. NATO and the Scandinavian countries are the obvious psychological target of Zapad, making sure they understand the power of Russian power projection capability.