Russian President Vladimir Putin has attended large-scale military exercises involving Chinese forces and the militaries of several other Russia-friendly countries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told local news agencies.
The Vostok-2022 (East 2022) joint military exercises began on September 1 and are being held amid Russia’s war in Ukraine and at a time when both Moscow and Beijing face tensions with the United States.
Putin was at the Sergeevski military range on Tuesday to meet with Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu and military chief of staff Valery Gerasimov and would observe the final phase of the military exercises, Peskov was quoted as saying.
General Gerasimov has personally overseen the drills, which involve troops from several ex-Soviet nations as well as from China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria.
More than 50,000 soldiers and more than 5,000 units of military equipment, including 140 aircraft and 60 ships, are involved in the exercises which run until Wednesday across several training grounds in Russia’s Far East and in the waters off its eastern coast.
The exercise continues a series of joint war games by Russia and China in recent years, including naval drills and long-range bomber patrols, and showcases ties between Moscow and Beijing, which have grown stronger since Putin sent his troops into Ukraine.
Chinese defence ministry spokesperson Colonel Tan Kefei said last week that China’s participation in Vostok-2022 aims to deepen “cooperation between the militaries of the participating countries, enhance the level of strategic cooperation among all participating parties, and enhance the ability to jointly respond to various security threats”.
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