A fleet of two XAC H-6K strategic bombers from China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) and two Tupolev Tu-95M strategic bombers from the Russian Federation conducted a joint air patrol between December 14 and 17.
The Japanese Ministry of Defence states that 13 Russian and Chinese fighter jets took part in the patrol at various stages on the air while the Chinese Navy's Type 055 destroyer was spotted operating in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).
The Chinese state media stated that the joint air operation is a "sea-air integration operation."
During these patrol missions, the Japan Ministry of Defence claims a Chinese Type 055 destroyer transited the Japanese Sea (East Sea) through the Tsushima Strait.
China and Russia's air force had previously conducted joint flights near Japan in June 2023.
China and Russia have reinforced their partnership in recent years, including in the military sphere. They have joined in large-scale military exercises. They also signed technology transfer agreements and collaborated on arms sales. Russia has been a noteworthy supplier of advanced military hardware to China, including aircraft, missiles, and naval hardware. This arms trade works in the opposite direction today. West imposes sanctions on Russia due to its aggression in Ukraine, and Russia buys Chinese products.
Russia and China stand together mostly in international forums, such as United Nations resolutions and global governance.