MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia kicked off week-long war games on Thursday involving forces from China and other countries as part of growing defense cooperation between Moscow and Beijing, as they are all both face tensions with the United States.
The maneuvers also aim to demonstrate that Moscow has sufficient military power for massive exercises even as its troops are engaged in military action in Ukraine.
The Russian Defense Ministry said exercise Vostok 2022 (East 2022) will be held until September 7 at seven firing ranges in the Russian Far East and the Sea of ​​Japan and will involve more than 50,000 soldiers and more. of 5,000 units of arms, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships.
Russian Chief of General Staff, Gen. Valery Gerasimovwill personally oversee exercises involving troops from several former Soviet countries, China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria.
The Ministry of Defense noted that as part of the maneuvers, the Russian and Chinese navies in the Sea of ​​Japan “will practice joint action to protect maritime communications, maritime economic activity zones and support for ground troops in areas. littoral”.
Beijing has sent more than 2,000 troops as well as more than 300 military vehicles, 21 fighter jets and three warships to take part in the drills, Chinese media said.
China’s Global Times newspaper noted that the drills marked the first time China had sent forces from three branches of its military to participate in a single Russian drill, in what it described as a demonstration of the breadth and depth the depth of Sino-Russian military cooperation. and mutual trust.
The drills show growing defense ties between Moscow and Beijing, which have been strengthened since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.
China has ostensibly refused to criticize Russia’s actions, accusing the United States and NATO of provoking Moscow, and lambasted the punitive sanctions imposed on Moscow.
Russia, in turn, has been strongly supportive of China amid tensions with the United States that followed a recent visit to Taiwan by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Putin drew parallels between US support for Ukraine and Pelosi’s trip, describing them both as part of alleged efforts by Washington to foment global instability.
Alexander Gabuyev, a political analyst who closely follows Russian-Chinese relations, noted that “it is very important that Beijing shows the United States that it has leverage to put pressure on America and its global interests.” .
“Joint maneuvers with Moscow, including naval exercises, are meant to send a signal that if the pressure on Beijing continues, it will have no choice but to strengthen the military partnership with Russia,” Gabuyev said.
“This will directly impact the interests of the United States and its allies, including Japan.”
He noted that the Kremlin, for its part, wants to show that the country’s military is strong enough to flex its muscles elsewhere despite the campaign in Ukraine.
“The Russian leadership demonstrates that everything is going according to plan and that the country and its military have the resources to carry out the maneuvers alongside the special military operation,” Gabuyev said.
The exercise continues a series of joint Russia-China war games in recent years, including naval drills and long-range bomber patrols over the Sea of ​​Japan and East China Sea. . Last year, Russian troops deployed for the first time on Chinese territory for joint maneuvers.
China’s participation in the exercises “aims to deepen pragmatic and friendly cooperation between the armies of participating countries, improve the level of strategic cooperation among all participating parties, and enhance the ability to jointly respond to various security threats.” , said the spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Defense, the colonel,” Tan Kefei said last week.
Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have developed strong personal ties to bolster a “strategic partnership” between former communist rivals as they are both locked in a rivalry with the United States.
Although Moscow and Beijing have in the past rejected the possibility of forging a military alliance, Cheese fries said such a prospect could not be ruled out. He also noted that Russia shares highly sensitive military technologies with China that have helped significantly boost its defense capability.

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