China and Russia are gearing up to hold joint naval drills in the Baltic Sea with more than a dozen warships set to take part. Beijing has already sent one of its advanced guided-missile destroyers to participate in the exercises, codenamed Joint Sea 2017.

In a Tuesday statement, the Russian Defense Ministry said the Baltic Sea phase of the naval drills, codenamed Joint Sea 2017, starting Friday, will involve about a dozen warships in addition to military aircraft and helicopters.

“The main goals of the exercises are to increase the efficiency in cooperation between the two fleets in countering security threats at sea, to train compatibility of the crews of Russian and Chinese warships, to strengthen friendship and cooperation between the Russian Navy and the Naval Forces of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army,” the Russian ministry said.

While the active phase of the maritime war games will take place between 24 and 27 July, the Chinese naval forces will be formally welcomed at a ceremony at Russia’s base Baltiysk in Kaliningrad region.