Russia and China launch joint Pacific patrol

The second joint drills near Japan feature seven Russian and Chinese naval ships

Russian and Chinese military vessels are taking part in a joint patrol in the Pacific Ocean for the second time within a year, the Defense Ministry in Moscow said on Thursday. Eight ships in total are taking part in the operation, which is intended to support peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, monitor the sea lanes and safeguard the maritime economic assets of the two countries.

The second joint patrol since October 2021 is part of a program of international military cooperation, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement. The two navies will conduct joint tactical maneuvers, establish communications, and conduct a series of exercises, from practical gunnery to helicopter takeoffs and landings.

Representing the Russian Pacific Fleet is the frigate Marshal Shaposhnikov, corvettes Sovershenny, Gromky and Aldar Tsydenzhapov, and the medium naval tanker Pechenga, Moscow said. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) sent the destroyer Nanchang, the frigate Yancheng, and the supply ship Dongpinghu.

While the Russian Defense Ministry did not specify the area of operations for the joint patrol, in a video shared on Telegram, Pacific Fleet deputy commander Aleksandr Bagdasarov mentioned the Sea of Okhotsk, north of Japan.

During the previous drills in 2021, the Russo-Chinese naval group sailed over 1,700 nautical miles, including a passage through the Tsugaru Straits, between the Japanese home islands of Honshu and Hokkaido.

The joint naval mission comes on the heels of Vostok 2022, the week-long war games in the Russian Far East, involving more than 50,000 troops from 13 countries. According to Major General Vladimir Omelyanovich, the purpose of the event was to “create a coalition force that would plan and implement a special military operation aimed at ensuring peace and security in the region.”

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