MOSCOW: Russia and China have completed the first stage of naval exercises in the Yellow Sea, off the coast of Qingdao in eastern China.
Though Russia and China conduct joint naval drills on a regular basis since 2005, the Maritime Cooperation-2012 will be the first Chinese-Russian military exercise outside the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
"The first stage of the exercise - the deployment of ships - has been completed," the ministry said.
The exercise, to last until Friday, involves more than 20 vessels from Russia and China, including destroyers, escort vessels, hospital ships, submarines and supply ships.
Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Tuesday the exercise is not directed against "third states" and is not an attempt by Moscow and Beijing to create a military alliance.