In the midst of tensions with the West over the Kremlin’s conduct in Ukraine, Russia said Monday that it would begin extensive military exercises in the country’s east that will include Chinese personnel.
The Vostok 2022 (East 2022) exercise, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, will take place from September 1–7 at several sites in Russia’s Far East and the Sea of Japan and include more than 50,000 soldiers, over 5,000 weaponry units, 140 aircraft, and 60 vessels.
The exercises will include forces from numerous former Soviet countries, China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua, and Syria, and will be held at seven fire ranges in far eastern Russia.
The exercises will include participation from other forces as well as Russian Airborne Troops, long-range bombers, and military transport aircraft, according to the ministry.
The Russian military stressed that the exercise is a part of ongoing combat training when it first announced it last month, despite Moscow’s military action in Ukraine. The number of soldiers taking part in what the Kremlin refers to as the “special military operation” there has not been made public.
The Russian and Chinese warships in the Maritime of Japan will “practice coordinated action to secure sea communications, regions of marine commercial activity, and support for ground forces in littoral areas,” according to the ministry, as part of the drills.
Since Russia moved soldiers into Ukraine on February 24, defense connections between Moscow and Beijing have become closer, as seen by the exercises. China has steadfastly refrained from criticizing Russia’s behavior, blaming the United States and NATO for inciting Moscow, and has denounced the punitive measures put in place against Moscow.
As a result of the tensions with the United States that followed U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent trip to Taiwan, Russia has firmly supported China. In a speech earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin compared U.S. assistance to Ukraine to Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, alleging that both were components of purported American plans to sow unrest throughout the world.
In recent years, Russia and China have participated in a number of combined war games, which have included naval exercises and long-range bomber patrols over the Sea of Japan and the East China Sea. Russian forces entered Chinese territory for joint exercises for the first time last year.
As both Moscow and Beijing experience rising tensions with the West, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping have become close personally to support a “strategic cooperation” between the former Communist adversaries.
Putin has said that the notion of a military alliance can’t be ruled out, despite Moscow and Beijing having previously rejected the idea. He also said that China has received extremely sensitive military technology from Russia, which have considerably improved China’s defense capabilities.
The Russian Defense Ministry highlighted that the exercises are a continuation of scheduled combat training when it initially announced them last month, despite Moscow’s military involvement in Ukraine. The number of soldiers taking part in what the Kremlin refers to as the “special military operation” there has not been made public.