China says its latest-generation warships have conducted live-firing drills in the Mediterranean Sea while en route to joint exercises with the Russian navy. The defence ministry says the destroyer Hefei, frigate Yuncheng and support ship Luomahu took part in Monday’s drills involving the ship’s deck guns and small arms. The ships will next take part in the “Joint Sea 2017” exercises in waters off the Russian cities of St. Petersburg and Kaliningrad, an illustration of growing cooperation between the countries’ militaries. China’s navy is increasingly operating in the Mediterranean, aided by the construction of naval logistics base in the Horn of Africa nation of Djibouti. Two naval ships departed Tuesday from the southern Chinese port of Zhanjiang with personnel to man the facility, which constitutes China’s first overseas military base.