The navies of China and Russia conducted the “Joint Sea 2017” military exercises in the Baltic Sea between 21st-28th of July 2017. The welcoming ceremony took place on July 21st in the Kaliningrad area and the objective of the military exercises was to increase the cooperation between the two states on maritime security and the development of a sustainable relationship between the two navies, according to the statement issued by the Russian Defense Ministry.
Although these bilateral military exercises between China and Russia started in 2012, 2017 is the first year in which such operations were deployed in European territorial waters. Furthermore, the military joint exercises took place in the Baltic Sea, near St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad, stretching its area from the Kola Peninsula to Belarus, near the Russian border with Norway and Finland.
The Chinese fleet includes a single destroyer (Changsha Type 052D), a frigate (571 Yucheng), a supply ship (964 Luomahu refueling tanker – with a capacity of 10,700 tons of solid or liquid fuel), helicopters and warships (Two first-class ships and another logistics support, as East Pendulum notes). This is for the first time that a destroyer of the newest generation of combat ships produced in China reaches this region.
Russian participation in the military exercises included military vessels, fixed-wing aircrafts, helicopters and military personnel. No further additional details about the Russian military equipment or its numbers used in the joint operations were made public. According to the press releases, the TK-208 Dimitri Donskoi nuclear submarine, made an appearance in the joint exercises. The TK-208 is the largest nuclear submarine in the world, with the nuclear cruiser mentioned as one of the largest vessels of its kind worldwide. Both ships are part of the North Fleet. 6
„The main goals of the exercises are to increase the efficiency of 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 defense ministry said in a statement. Russian and Chinese navy have conducted seven military exercises since 2012. Last year, during the Joint Sea 2016, the two fleets held military exercises for eight days in the South China Sea, on the coast of Guangdong province.