Lithuania is closely watching the Russia-China naval drills Joint Sea-2017 and informing its NATO allies of their conduct, Lithuanian Deputy Defense Minister Vytautas Umbrasas told the regional news agency BNS on Tuesday.
“Lithuania closely and constantly observes drills and other military activity conducted in the neighboring region and shares information it receives with NATO allies,” he said.
The deputy defense minister said he hoped that the Russia-China maneuvers would be held in compliance with the requirements generally accepted by the international community.
“We hope that international maritime law will be observed during the drills and no obstacles to economic activity will emerge in the Baltic Sea,” Umbrasas said.
The Joint Sea-2017 drills are entering their active phase on Tuesday. As Baltic Fleet spokesman Roman Martov told TASS, the warships participating in the maneuvers are leaving their bases and heading for the designated areas of the Baltic Sea for accomplishing practical missions. The Russian and Chinese sailors will also practice artillery fire against sea and air targets.
China has delegated three warships for participation in the exercise – the destroyer Hefei, the frigate Yuncheng and the supply vessel Lomahu. The Russian Navy is represented by two corvettes – the Steregushchy and the Boiky – and the salvage tug SB-123.
Different phases of the exercise will involve Kamov Ka-27 deck-based multirole helicopters, Sukhoi Su-24 tactical frontline bombers, Antonov An-26 military transport planes of the Baltic Fleet’s naval aviation and helicopters based on the Chinese warships.