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Russian-Chinese naval flotilla spotted off Hokkaido

Kyodo

Sixteen Russian and five Chinese naval ships sailed through an international strait north of Hokkaido from midday Saturday to the Sea of Okhotsk, the Defense Ministry said Sunday.

Russia and China conducted a joint naval drill off the coast of Vladivostok from July 5 to 12, but the purpose of their passage through the Soya Strait is not known, a ministry official said.

The Russian fleet, including missile cruisers, missile destroyers, a supply ship and a hospital ship, traveled through the strait Saturday afternoon, while the Chinese fleet, comprising two missile destroyers, two frigates and a supply ship, passed through the strait early Sunday, the ministry said.