Four Russian warships set to leave for China

Four Russian warships from the Pacific Fleet will leave the country for a joint exercise with Chinese naval forces.

Moscow: Four Russian warships from the Pacific Fleet, as well as support vessels, warplanes, helicopters and naval infantry, will leave the country`s Vladivostok city Sunday for a joint exercise with Chinese naval forces, said a spokesman for the fleet.

The Russian Navy will be represented by the guided missile cruiser Varyag, and three large antisubmarine ships in an exercise that is to take place between April 22 and 29 in the Yellow Sea, the name given to the northern part of East China Sea. It is located between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula.

"Three antisubmarine vessels and the Varyag will leave the port of Valdivostok today for the exercise. They are expected to be in China on April 22," the spokesman said.

In all, over 20 Russian and Chinese warships and support vessels will participate.

Since 2005, China and Russia have conducted several joint military exercises within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

The group also includes the Central Asian countries of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It aims to promote regional cooperation and check US influence.