Russia launches war games with China amid tensions with US

MOSCOW: Russia on Thursday launched week-long war games involving forces from China and other countries in a show of growing defense cooperation between Moscow and Beijing, as both both face tensions with the United States.
The drills are also intended to demonstrate that Moscow has enough military strength for major exercises even when its troops are engaged in military action in Ukraine.
The Russian Defense Ministry said that the Vostok 2022 (East 2022) drills will be held until September 7 at seven firing ranges in the Far East and the Sea of ​​Japan, with the participation of more than 50,000 troops and more than 5,000 units. weapons, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships.
Chief of the General Staff of Russia, General. Valery Gerasimovwill personally oversee the exercises involving troops from several former Soviet Union countries, China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria.
The Ministry of Defense noted that as part of the exercise, the Russian and Chinese navies in the Sea of ​​Japan will “practice joint actions to protect maritime communications, areas of marine economic activity and support for ground forces in coastal areas”.
Beijing sent more than 2,000 troops along with more than 300 military vehicles, 21 fighter jets and three warships to participate in the exercise, Chinese news reports said.
Of China Global Times The newspaper noted that the exercise marks the first time China has sent forces from its three military branches to a single Russian exercise, in what it describes as a show of breadth and depth. depth of Sino-Russian military cooperation and mutual trust. .
The drills show growing defense ties between Moscow and Beijing, which have become stronger since the Russian presidency. Vladimir Putin sent his troops into Ukraine on 24 February.
China has resolutely refused to criticize Russia’s actions, blaming the US and NATO for provoking Moscow, and for blowing away punitive sanctions imposed on Moscow.
In contrast, Russia has strongly supported China amid tensions with the US following the recent visit to Taiwan by the Speaker of the US House of Representatives. Nancy Pelosi.
Putin drew parallels between US support for Ukraine and Pelosi’s trip, describing both as part of Washington’s alleged efforts to destabilize the globe.
Alexander Gabuyev, a political analyst who closely follows Russia-China relations, notes that “it is very important for Beijing to show the US that it has the leverage to pressure the US and its global interests.” their needs”.
“The joint exercises with Moscow, including the naval exercises, are intended to signal that if pressure on Beijing continues, it will have no choice but to strengthen ties with Russia,” Gabuyev said. military cooperation with Russia.
“It will have a direct impact on the interests of the US and its allies, including Japan.”
He noted that the Kremlin, for its part, wants to show that its military is strong enough to flex its muscles elsewhere despite the campaign in Ukraine.
“The Russian leadership has shown that everything is going according to plan and that its country and army have the resources to conduct exercises and special military operations,” Gabuyev said.
The exercise continues a series of joint Russian and Chinese war games in recent years, including naval exercises and long-range bomber patrols over the Sea of ​​Japan and the East China Sea. . Last year, Russian troops were deployed to Chinese territory for the first time for joint exercises.
Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Col Tan Kefei said last week.
Putin and the President of China Xi Jinping developed strong personal relationships to forge “strategic partnerships” between former Communist adversaries when both were competing with the United States.
Although Moscow and Beijing have in the past ruled out a military alliance, Putin said that such a scenario cannot be ruled out. He also noted that Russia has shared highly sensitive military technologies with China, which has greatly enhanced its defense capabilities.

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