Russia and China to hold joint military drills as top generals meet virtually

China and Russia will again hold joint military war games this year, top generals from each side confirmed in a virtual meeting Friday, according to China’s defense ministry.

The chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission held a video meeting with Valery Gerasimov, chief of General Staff of the Russian armed forces.

The meeting was held to “exchange views on implementing the consensus of the two heads of state and deepening cooperation between the two armies,” China’s defense ministry stated.

In early June, China and Russia held joint air force drills over the Sea of Japan, also known as the East Sea.

It comes as bilateral trade between Russia and China totaled more than $93.8 billion from January to May in 2023, a 40.7% increase compared to the same period last year, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed.

Russia has been hit by unprecedented Western sanctions since it invaded Ukraine and has been shut out of much of the global economy.

But China, which has declared “no limits” to its friendship with its northern neighbor, has thrown the Kremlin an economic lifeline, tempering the impact of its banishment from the global financial system.

China — which views Russia as a key partner and counterbalance amid its own rising tensions with the West — has refused to condemn Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine or call for the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine’s territory, even as millions have been displaced and tens of thousands killed in the Kremlin’s unprovoked onslaught into the country.

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