Russia and China held a joint military exercise involving nuclear-ready bombers on Tuesday while U.S. President Joe Biden was in Japan.
A senior White House official told Fox News that the manoeuvre showed that Russia and China have continued close ties "even as Russia brutalizes Ukraine.”
The exercises were considered the biggest sign of continued close cooperation between Russia and China since Ukraine was invaded by Russia close to four months ago.
Biden was in Japan for the Quad leaders meeting between Japan, India, Australia and the U.S.
In a Telegram post, the Russian Ministry of Defense said: “A group of Tu-95ms Strategic Missile Carriers of the Russian Aerospace Forces and Xian H-6 Strategic Bombers of the [Chinese] Air Force conducted air patrol over the waters of the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea."
"The exercise shows that China is continuing its military cooperation with Russia in the Indo-Pacific even as Russia brutalizes Ukraine," the official said. "It also shows that Russia will stand with China in the East and South China Seas, not with other Indo-Pacific states."
“To further demonstrate just how seriously China considers its military partnership with Russia, Chinese naval vessels likely participated in this joint exercise,” the official added.
"The flight time of the Russian strategic missile carriers was about 13 hours," the Russian Ministry also wrote on Telegram. "At certain stages of the route, the strategic missile carriers were escorted by F-2 of the South Korean Air Force and F-15 of the Japanese Air Force."