Russian frigates arrive in China, signaling strong cooperation between nations


Two Russian navy frigates have made their first port visit to China in three years. The arrival of the Cold War-era ships, Gromkiy and Sovershenniy, in Shanghai marks a notable step in the partnership between the two countries,

despite Russia’s ongoing conflict with Ukraine. Welcomed by Chinese sailors in white parade uniforms holding placards, the frigates will engage in joint drills with the Chinese navy during their stay, focusing on ship-to-ship communications, formation maneuvering, and maritime search and rescue operations.

Dmitry Lukyantsev, a representative of the Shanghai Committee for Foreign Affairs and Russia’s consul general in Shanghai, emphasized the symbolic and crucial nature of the visit. He stated to Russia’s state-run TASS news agency, “This is the first call by Pacific Fleet ships after the three-year pandemic period, and this vividly shows that our states maintain exclusively close cooperation absolutely in all directions, including the military and political sphere.”

Notably, the same Russian vessels recently sailed through waters near Taiwan, a self-ruled island, and the Okinawa Islands of Japan, where the United States maintains a major military presence. This military cooperation between China and Russia underscores the resilience of their informal alliance, which has endured despite the conflict in Ukraine. Despite its previous close ties with Ukraine, China has refrained from explicitly condemning Russia’s invasion and has sought to mediate a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

The naval visit follows a recent meeting in Beijing between China’s Minister of National Defence, Li Shangfu, and the head of Russia’s navy, Admiral Nikolai Yevmenov. These talks mark the first formal military discussions between the two nations since a brief mutiny by the Russian mercenary group Wagner on June 24. China has assured Russia of its continued support following the uprising, expressing its desire for increased exchanges, joint exercises, and various forms of cooperation to elevate defense ties to new heights, as stated by China’s defense ministry.

Li Shangfu highlighted the close exchanges and frequent interactions between the Chinese and Russian navies, emphasizing the importance of communication at all levels, regular joint training, patrols, and joint war games. With the world’s largest navy in terms of vessel numbers and superior technical capabilities compared to Russia, China’s commitment to fostering military collaboration with Russia signals a strengthening partnership between the two nations.

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