China to send troops to Russia for ‘Vostok’ exercise

Members of China’s team work with their Type 96A tank during the tank biathlon competition at the International Army Games 2022 in Alabino, outside Moscow, Russia, on August 16, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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BEIJING, Aug 17 (Reuters) – China’s military will travel to Russia to participate in host-led joint military exercises with India, Belarus, Mongolia, Tajikistan and other countries, China’s defense ministry said on Wednesday.

China’s participation in the joint exercises is “not related to the current international and regional situation”, the ministry said in a statement.

Last month, Moscow announced plans to hold the “Vostok” (East) exercise from August 30 to September 5, even as it wages a costly war in Ukraine. Some foreign powers will participate in it, he said without naming them. Read on

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Its last such exercise was in 2018, when China participated for the first time.

China’s Ministry of Defense said their participation in the exercise was part of an ongoing bilateral annual cooperation agreement with Russia.

“The objective is to enhance practical and friendly cooperation with the militaries of the participating countries, increase the level of strategic cooperation between the participating parties and strengthen the capacity to respond to various security threats,” the statement said.

Beijing and Moscow have drawn closer under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Shortly before Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Beijing and Moscow announced a “no limits” partnership, although US officials said they had not seen China avoid US-led sanctions on Russia or supply it with military equipment.

Russia’s Eastern Military District includes part of Siberia and is headquartered in Khabarovsk, near the border with China.

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Reporting by Yew Lun Tian and Tony Munro; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Bernadette Baum, and Alex Richardson

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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