MOSCOW ( Associated Press) — Russian and Chinese strategic bombers flew a joint patrol over the western Pacific on Wednesday, showcasing the two countries’ growing defense ties.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Russian Air Force Tu-95 bombers and Chinese H-6Ks flew over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea during the eight-hour mission.
The ministry statement said that as part of the exercise, Russian bombers landed in China for the first time and Chinese planes flew to an airbase in Russia. The text states that the joint patrol was not directed against any other country.
The exercise was followed by a series of joint exercises to show growing military cooperation between Moscow and Beijing, which is at loggerheads with Washington.
Beijing sent more than 2,000 troops and 300 military vehicles, 21 fighter jets and three warships in September to participate in joint exercises with Russia. It was the first time China sent troops from all three branches of its military to the Russian exercises, which was described as a demonstration of the breadth and depth of the two countries’ military cooperation and mutual trust.
Defense cooperation between Russia and China has strengthened since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24. China has refused to criticize Russia’s actions and accused the United States of provoking Moscow, as well as harsh sanctions imposed on Russia.
For its part, Russia has strongly supported China in its tensions with the United States following a visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.