The Russian and Chinese navies are holding joint patrols in the Pacific Ocean, the Russian defence ministry says, deepening military and diplomatic ties between Moscow and Beijing as their relations with the West sour.
A ministry statement on Telegram said crews from both sides were conducting joint tactical manoeuvres and carrying out exercises involving artillery and helicopters.
"The tasks of the patrols involve the strengthening of naval co-operation between Russia and China, upholding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, coastal monitoring and safeguarding Russian and Chinese nautical economic sites," the statement said.
China's President Xi Jinping is due on Thursday to meet Russia's President Vladimir Putin in Uzbekistan to discuss Ukraine and Taiwan, among other matters, in what is the Chinese president's first trip abroad in more than two years.
The deepening 'no limits' partnership between the rising superpower of China and the natural resources titan of Russia is a geopolitical development the West is watching with anxiety.
Russia and China warships conducted their first joint patrols of the western Pacific Ocean in October last year, a move closely monitored by Japan which described the manoeuvres as "unusual".