Lithuania has been closely following Russian-Chinese naval exercises Naval Interaction — 2017 in the Baltic Sea and has been informing NATO on its progress, Lithuanian Deputy Defense Minister Vytautas Umbrasas said Tuesday.
“Lithuania has been continuously monitoring and analyzing attentively the drills conducted nearby as well as other military activity and has shared all available information with its NATO allies,” Umbrasas told Baltic News Service.
The Russian-Chinese joint naval drills were first held in 2012. Joint drills Naval Interaction — 2017 are the first naval maneuvers in the Baltic sea in the history of cooperation between the two fleets. The active phase of the exercises is scheduled for July 25-27, during which the fleets of the two countries will practice joint anti-sabotage, air and anti-ship defense.
According to Russian Defense Ministry, the main goals of the joint naval drills are strengthening the friendly relations between the fleets of the countries, practicing and improving skills of organizing joint actions at the sea, on the ground and in the air. Russian officials have repeatedly stated that the exercises are not directed against other states.