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Chinese-Russian air forces conduct major joint patrol with fighters, bombers

Chinese and Russian bombers conducted a joint air patrol on 6 June. The Russian bombers subsequently landed at an unidentified airbase in China. (Japan MoD/Janes)

Russian and Chinese strategic bombers concluded a major joint patrol with fighter aircraft over the Sea of Japan (East Sea), the East China Sea, and the Philippine Sea.

According to information published by the Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD), several Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) fighter aircraft participated in the joint air patrol at various legs of the operation.

The joint patrol was split into two phases, according to the Japan MoD. Phase one of the patrol was conducted on 6 June. During this phase, two Xi'an Aircraft Company (XAC) H-6K bombers of the PLA rendezvoused with two Tupolev Tu-95MS bombers of the Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) over the Sea of Japan (East Sea), the Japan MoD said.

However, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) placed the number of aircraft in the joint patrol as four Chinese and four Russian aircraft.

The joint air patrol flew south through South Korea's Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) and Japan's ADIZ, the Japan MoD said on 7 June. The South Korean Ministry of National Defense added that the Chinese and Russian aircraft entered the KADIZ “without prior notice and flew in sensitive areas close to our airspace”.

In a statement to the South Korean media, the JCS said, “Chinese and Russian aircraft entered the southern and eastern parts of the KADIZ, respectively, and exited it between 1152 h and 0149 h local time.”

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