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Putin: Military drill evidence of closer ties
By Guo Nei (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-08-11 06:08

Russian President Vladimir Putin has hailed the upcoming Sino-Russian military exercise as evidence of the progress made in bilateral military co-operation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin gets into a locomotive while he tours a railroad test centre in the town of Shcherbinka outside Moscow August 4, 2005. Putin's visit comes ahead of Railroad Workers' Day, celebrated in Russia on the first Sunday in August. [Reuters]
Speaking in Moscow on Tuesday, the Russian president said his country sees China as a long-standing friend with which it shares a huge number of mutual interests.

He made the remarks at a meeting with newly appointed Russian Ambassador to China, Sergei Razov, according to reports by the ITAR-Tass news agency.

Putin's remarks coincide with the moving of Russian troops towards the site of the first Chinese-Russian military exercise.

The defence ministries of the two countries announced on August 2 that joint military drills, dubbed "Peace Mission 2005," will take place around Russia's Vladivostock and East China's Shandong Peninsula from August 18-25.

Ships of Russia's Pacific Fleet started sailing for East China's Shandong Province on Sunday, Colonel General Vladimir Moltensky, first deputy commander of the Russian army, said on Tuesday.

The fleet includes a large anti-submarine vessel, the Marshal Shaposhnikov, a large landing ship and a destroyer. A company of Marine Corps and some students from the Makarov Pacific Ocean Higher Naval School have also joined the contingent.

Moltensky told reporters in the Siberian city of Vladivostok that a company of Psokov's 76th Airborne Division had also moved to the area for the exercise.
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