Russia, China bombers conduct patrol in Asia-Pacific, met ‘foreign’ fighters: Moscow
the joint air task force was comprised of Russian Tu-95MS strategic missile-carrying bombers and Chinese Hong-6K strategic bombers and they carried out a “new joint aerial patrol” over the Sea of Japan, East China Sea and western Pacific Ocean, the Russian defense ministry said in a statement reported by state news agency TASS.
It added that Russian Su-30SM and Su-35S fighter jets and Chinese Shenyang J-11 fighters provided flew along the bombers as support throughout the entire flight path which lasted approximately eight hours.
“During the joint aerial patrol, Russian aircraft made landings and take-offs from a Chinese airfield and fighter jets of foreign states escorted the strategic missile-carrying bombers at some stages of the aerial patrol,” the Russian ministry said without identifying the “foreign states”.
The Russian ministry added that the patrol was in compliance with international law and there were “no violations of the airspace of foreign states.” The ministry stressed that the joint patrol with China was “not directed against any third countries.”
This comes at a time of heightened tensions between the West and both China and Russia individually, and amid increased wariness of the two’s “strategic partnership” as Russian President Vladimir Putin has turned to his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping for some relief from the pressure of Western sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine.
Separately, friction over airspace and aerial conduct increased between Moscow and the West in recent months and since then the Baltic Sea and Black Sea witnessed several interceptions by Russian, US and NATO aircraft.
Ties have also been strained between the US and China. Most recently, Washington accused Beijing’s military of an “increasing level of aggressiveness… particularly in the area of the Taiwan Strait and in the South China Sea,” according to White House national security spokesperson John Kirby.
The US Navy had announced on Saturday an “unsafe interaction” by a Chinese warship coming dangerously close to a US destroyer in the Taiwan Strait. This comes within days of another incident between US-Chinese military, whereby a Chinese fighter jet conducted an “unnecessarily aggressive” maneuver close to a US military plane in the international airspace over the South China Sea.