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Putin attends joint military exercises with China

Russian President Vladimir Putin observes the Vostok 2022 strategic command post exercises, which involve the Eastern Military District troops, at the Sergeevsky training ground, in Primorsky krai region, Russia, Tuesday. Over 50,000 people, more than 5,000 military vehicles, including 140 aircraft, 60 vessels are involved in the drills. Pool Photo by Mikhael Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin/EPA-EFE
Russian President Vladimir Putin observes the Vostok 2022 strategic command post exercises, which involve the Eastern Military District troops, at the Sergeevsky training ground, in Primorsky krai region, Russia, Tuesday. Over 50,000 people, more than 5,000 military vehicles, including 140 aircraft, 60 vessels are involved in the drills. Pool Photo by Mikhael Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin/EPA-EFE

Sept. 6 (UPI) -- President Vladimir Putin attended large-scale military exercises on Tuesday involving China and other Russia-friendly countries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

The Vostok-2022 joint military exercises come at a time when Russia is trying to strengthen its relationship with China and several African nations, after its invasion of Ukraine.

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Putin met Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and military chief of staff Valery Gerasimov at the Sergeyevsky military range and later observed the final phase of the military exercises. The drills involved China, Syria, and India, according to The Moscow Times.

The exercises, which go until Wednesday in Russia's Far East region, include more than 50,000 soldiers and more than 5,000 units of military equipment, including 140 aircraft and 60 ships.

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According to Al Jazeera, China's defense ministry spokesperson Tan Kefei said that the exercises aim to strengthen "cooperation between the militaries of the participating countries, enhance the level of strategic cooperation among all participating parties, and enhance the ability to jointly respond to various security threats."

China's top legislator, Li Zhanshu, was expected to join Putin, making him the highest-ranking Communist party politician to visit Russia since its invasion of Ukraine.

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"Russia-China relations of comprehensive partnership and strategic cooperation are developing progressively," the Kremlin said in a statement.

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Putin is also expected to hold a bilateral meeting with Myanmar junta chief Min Aug Hlaing.

Russia and China have conducted a series of joint war games in recent years. Military ties between the two countries have grown stronger since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. China has blamed the United States and NATO for provoking the invasion.

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