China-Russia naval drills in Mediterranean
China and Russia have begun their first common naval exercise in the Mediterranean that is expected to last for a week.
The exercise is indicative of a growing defense link between Beijing and Moscow and also could be seen as a demonstration of China's efforts to broaden its maritime horizons.
Two Chinese 054A/Jiangkai II class missile frigates are involved along with a supply vessel. Six Russian ships are also taking part
The exercises will encompass safety drills, replenishment at sea, escort missions and some live firing.
The Chinese warships had previously visited the Russian Black sea base of Novorossiysk (as part of the Victory in Europe celebrations.
China, unlike Russia, has traditionally not seen the Mediterranean as an area of strategic concern.
However, China's growing economic role and the importance of securing shipping lanes for its trade have given the country a new focus.