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China sends troops to Russia for 'Vostok' exercise

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BEIJING — Chinese forces will visit Russia and participate in host-led joint military exercises involving India, Belarus, Mongolia, Tajikistan and other countries, China's defense ministry said Wednesday.

China's participation in the joint exercises was "irrelevant to the current international and regional situation," the ministry said in a statement.

Last month, Moscow announced plans to conduct "Vostok" (East) exercises from 30 August to 5 September, despite the costly war being waged in Ukraine. At the time, it said that some foreign powers would participate, but did not name them.

The last such exercise took place in his 2018, when China participated for the first time.

China's defense ministry said its participation in the exercise was part of an ongoing bilateral annual cooperation agreement with Russia.

"The objective is to deepen practical and friendly cooperation with the armed forces of participating States, to increase the level of strategic cooperation between the Participating Parties, and to improve their ability to respond to various security threats. to strengthen," the statement said.

Under Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Beijing and Moscow have grown closer.

Shortly before Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Beijing and Moscow announced a "no-limits" partnership, but US officials said China was trying to circumvent US-led sanctions against Russia. He said he never provided military equipment to the United States.

Russia's Eastern Military District includes part of Siberia and is headquartered in Khabarovsk, near the Chinese border. (Reporting by Yew Lun Tian and Tony Munroe; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne, Bernadette Baum, Alex Richardson)