July 26, 2017 / 10:33 AM / a month ago

Russia says its Baltic Sea war games with Chinese Navy not a threat

Russian President Vladimir Putin watches a display during the MAKS 2017 air show in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow, Russia July 18, 2017. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said late on Tuesday that war games it is conducting with the Chinese Navy in the Baltic Sea, which has become a zone of heightened tensions between Moscow and the West, do not pose a threat to anyone.

The exercise, which began on Tuesday, is a sign of how closely Russia and China cooperate militarily and will be seen as a show of force by Moscow in an area where NATO and Russian aircraft often intercept one other.

"The actions of our sailors will be monitored by our numerous neighbors in the region," Russian Vice Admiral Alexander Fedotenkov was quoted as saying in a statement released by the Russian Defence Ministry.

"Holding such an exercise is in no way a threat to other nations," he said.

The Russian and Chinese ships, which set off from a Russian naval base near the Polish border, will practice shooting at naval and aerial targets, the defense ministry said.

Other simulated tasks include inspecting a suspicious vessel, freeing a ship seized by pirates, and conducting a rescue and recovery operation at sea.

The exercise, called "Sea Cooperation-2017," follows similar ones held last year. More exercises of the same kind will be held in mid-September in the Sea of Japan and the Sea of Okhotsk, China's state news agency Xinhua reported last month.

Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Andrew Osborn

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