Beijing will send troops to Russia to participate in Vostok-2022 drills, Chinese defense ministry says

China’s People’s Liberation Army will send troops to Russia to participate in the “East-2022” drills, also known as Vostok-2022, the Chinese Ministry of Defense said on Wednesday.

“China’s participation in the exercise is aimed at deepening practical and friendly cooperation with the armies of the participating countries, enhancing the level of strategic cooperation among the participating parties, and strengthening the ability to respond to various security threats,” the defense ministry said, adding that “it is unrelated to the current international and regional situation.”

The exercises will include participation from India, Belarus, Tajikistan, Mongolia and other countries, according to China’s defense ministry, and they are due to take place in late August.

Some background: In July, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held “candid” talks for more than five hours, and Blinken raised concerns over Beijing’s “alignment” with Moscow. Blinken said he said he did not think China was behaving in a neutral way as it had supported Russia in the United Nations and “amplified Russian propaganda.”

Shortly before Russia began invading Ukraine on Feb. 24, Beijing and Moscow announced a “no limits” partnership, although US officials say they have not seen China evade tough US-led sanctions on Russia or provide it with military equipment.

Putin says Russia can train foreign fighters: Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia is ready to supply military equipment to allied countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Moscow is open to training foreign fighters, Putin said during the “Army-2022” opening ceremony.

“We highly value the fact that our country has many allies, partners, like-minded people on different continents,” Putin said.

Putin also stressed the advantages of training foreign soldiers in Russia and said Russia invites allies to do joint military exercises.

“We also see great prospects in the training of foreign servicemen and their advanced training. Thousands of military professionals from around the world are proud alumnus of the military universities and academies of our country,” Putin said.

Russia will continue to work in this area, he said.

CNN’s Uliana Pavlova contributed reporting to this post.

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