MOSCOW ( Associated Press) – Russian warships departed Monday for joint naval drills with China, showcasing growing defense ties between the two countries, which are facing tensions with the United States.
The Varyag missile cruiser, the destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov and two corvettes of Russia’s Pacific Fleet will take part in exercises in the East China Sea from Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The ministry said the Chinese navy plans to deploy several surface-designed warships and a submarine for the exercise. According to the ministry, Russian and Chinese aircraft will also take part in the exercise.
Moscow and Beijing have demonstrated increasing military cooperation in recent months.
In November, Russian Air Force Tu-95 bombers and Chinese H-6K bombers conducted joint patrols over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea. As part of the exercise, Russian bombers landed in China for the first time and Chinese bombers flew to an airbase in Russia.
In September, China sent over 2,000 troops and more than 300 military vehicles, 21 fighter jets and three warships for a massive joint exercise with Russia. China sent troops from three branches of its military to participate in the Russian drill for the first time, which was seen as a sign of the deep mutual trust that exists between China and Russia.
Defense cooperation between Moscow and Beijing has strengthened since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.
China, which has declared “unlimited” friendship with Russia, has refused to criticize Moscow’s actions, blamed the United States and NATO for prodding the Kremlin, and criticized sanctions on Russia Is.
In return, Russia has strongly supported China amid tensions with the US over Taiwan.