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China sends troops to Russia to participate in the “Vostok” exercise

China sends troops to Russia to participate in the "Vostok" exercise

Members of Team China work with their Type 96A tanks during the Tank Biathlon competition at the 2022 International Military Games in Alabino, outside Moscow, Russia, August 16, 2022. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s Defense Ministry said on Wednesday that Chinese troops will travel to Russia to participate in joint military exercises led by the host country, including India, Belarus, Mongolia, Tajikistan and other countries.

The ministry said in a statement that China’s participation in the joint exercises “has nothing to do with the current international and regional situation.”

Last month, Moscow announced plans to hold the “Vostok” (East) exercises from August 30 to September 5, even as it wages a costly war in Ukraine. She said at the time that some foreign forces would participate without naming them. Read more

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

China’s Defense Ministry said its participation in the exercises is part of an ongoing annual bilateral cooperation agreement with Russia.

“The goal is to deepen practical and friendly cooperation with the armies of the participating countries, enhance the level of strategic cooperation between the participating parties, and enhance the ability to respond to various security threats,” the statement said.

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, relations between Beijing and Moscow have solidified.

Shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Beijing and Moscow announced a “borderless” partnership, although US officials say they have not seen China evade US-led sanctions on Russia or provide it with military equipment.

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The Eastern Military District of Russia includes part of Siberia and is headquartered in Khabarovsk, near the Chinese border.

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Additional reporting by Yu Lun Tian and Tony Munroe; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Bernadette Bohm and Alex Richardson

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