War in Ukraine, live: Russia deploys hypersonic missiles in Kaliningrad

War in Ukraine, live: Russia deploys hypersonic missiles in Kaliningrad

China takes part in joint military exercises in Russia

Beijing will send troops to Russia to take part in joint military exercises at the end of August to “deepen cooperation” between the two armies, the Chinese Defense Ministry announced.

China and Russia have close defense ties, and Beijing has said it wants to take bilateral ties “to a higher level” despite international condemnations over the war in Ukraine. According to a statement released on Wednesday, as part of its cooperation with Russia, China will take part in the annual exercises dubbed “Vostok” (“East”, in French), which Moscow has said are scheduled to take place from August 30 to September 5.

“The goal is to deepen practical and friendly cooperation with the armies of participating countries, increase the level of strategic cooperation between the parties involved and strengthen the ability to respond to various security threats,” the Defense Ministry said in the press release.

India, Belarus, Mongolia and Tajikistan, among others, will also take part in these exercises. China and India have been accused in recent months of offering diplomatic protection to Russia by opposing Western sanctions and arms sales to Ukraine. However, Beijing assures that its participation in the military exercises is “unrelated to the current situation at regional and international level”.

These are the second exercises China and Russia are conducting jointly this year. In May, the two countries had organized 13-hour maneuvers near Japan and South Korea, forcing the latter to launch fighter jets as a deterrent when United States President Joe Biden was in Tokyo.

When asked about Chinese involvement in the joint drills, US State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States had no “special interpretation” of the drills. “Most of the affected countries also regularly participate in a variety of military exercises and exchanges with the United States,” he told a news conference.