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Russia and China complete joint drills

The Russian and Chinese militaries have finished a week of joint naval drills, during which the two sides practiced anti-submarine maneuvers, search and rescue operations, and communications exercises in the East China Sea.

The ‘Maritime Interaction 2022’ exercise wrapped up after seven days of drills, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday, noting that the warships “jointly searched for a submarine of a conditional enemy and fired a volley of jet depth charges” with the support of “anti-submarine aviation.”

“Naval task forces of the [Russian] Pacific Fleet and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy have completed their tasks for the bilateral … exercise in the East China Sea,” it said in a statement.

Footage published by the ministry shows some of the drills in progress, with Russian sailors seen addressing their Chinese counterparts in Mandarin over the radio, while a number of naval guns and other weapons platforms were filmed in action.

In addition to simulating the destruction of an enemy sub with rocket-propelled depth charges, the exercises included “an operation to free a seized vessel” as well as rescue and communications missions, the ministry went on. Earlier Chinese media reports also stated the maneuvers would have a “deterrent effect on [the] US’ simultaneous suppression of China and Russia.”

According to China’s Xinhua News, the drills were staged in waters near the coastal cities of Zhoushan and Taizhou – held in closer proximity to Taiwan than previous iterations of the yearly exercises.

The Russian naval group was led by the missile cruiser Varyag, the flagship of the Pacific Fleet, supported by two corvettes and a frigate, while the Chinese side was headed up by the destroyer Jinan.

Beijing and Moscow have carried out several rounds of exercises together this year, including flights involving nuclear-capable bombers during US President Joe Biden’s visit to Japan, as well as bomber patrols over the Sea of Japan and East China Sea last month. The two countries have held joint naval drills since 2005 under the umbrella of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security bloc, and the ‘Maritime Interaction’ exercise has been carried out annually for the last ten years.

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