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Joint China-Russia Week Long War Games Signals Growing Military Ties

Joint China-Russia Week Long War Games Signals Growing Military Ties

Joint China-Russia Week Long War Games Signals Growing Military Ties
September 11
14:33 2018

More details have emerged revealing just how extensive the joint China-Russia week long ‘Vostok’ war games will be, set to kick off Tuesday, which is to involve a combined total of 300,000 troops, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 aircraft, two Russian naval fleets and all airborne units, along with a contingent from China, a clear sign to the west of just how close military ties between the two nations have become.

The two powers are cooperating in the military games, said to be the largest such exercise since 1981 under the Soviet Union. During Vostok, China is to deploy an unprecedented number of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops and equipment, which also constitutes the first time a country not from the former Soviet bloc has conducted joint games with Moscow and on Russian soil.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) China has sent about 3,200 PLA elite forces troops, along with 30 fix-wing aircraft and helicopters to deploy during the exercises.

And a new Financial Times report describes that the joint deployment will include “Hundreds of Russian and Chinese tanks, attack helicopters, fighter jets and thousands of soldiers…” in “a show of strength and friendship between Asia’s two largest military powers”.

More details have emerged revealing just how extensive the joint China-Russia week long ‘Vostok’ war games will be, set to kick off Tuesday, which is to involve a combined total of 300,000 troops, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 aircraft, two Russian naval fleets and all airborne units, along with a contingent from China, a clear sign to the west of just how close military ties between the two nations have become.

The two powers are cooperating in the military games, said to be the largest such exercise since 1981 under the Soviet Union. During Vostok, China is to deploy an unprecedented number of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) troops and equipment, which also constitutes the first time a country not from the former Soviet bloc has conducted joint games with Moscow and on Russian soil.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) China has sent about 3,200 PLA elite forces troops, along with 30 fix-wing aircraft and helicopters to deploy during the exercises.

And a new Financial Times report describes that the joint deployment will include “Hundreds of Russian and Chinese tanks, attack helicopters, fighter jets and thousands of soldiers…” in “a show of strength and friendship between Asia’s two largest military powers”.

What is widely reported to be a growing personal friendship between Presidents Putin and Xi is also said to be driving increased closeness in military relations between the two powers.

Crucially, with NATO expanding up to Russia’s Western border and with “non-aligned” Scandinavian countries Sweden and Finland increasingly cooperating in NATO war games, one major element to the games sure to attract the attention of Washington military planners is the inclusion of simulated nuclear weapons attacks.

Both Russia and China are among the world’s major longtime nuclear armed powers, and both are experiencing soaring tensions with the United States.

In response to the impending Vostok-18 games Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon announced late last month“We urge Russia to take steps to share information regarding its exercises and operations in Europe to clearly convey its intentions and minimize and potential misunderstanding.”

Prior Pentagon reports suggest the games will be closely watched by U.S. intelligence agencies especially due to Russia’s willingness to simulate nuclear combat.

Valery Gerasimov, chief of Russia’s general staff, described some of strategic maneuvers to be employed in the games: “There are plans to practice massive air strikes, cruise missile training, defensive and offensive operations, raids, and bypass manoeuvres.”

Gerasimov described further, “Aircraft will practice support to an offensive mounted by ground forces and beach defense. Planes and helicopters will practice bombings and [the] use of air-launched missiles.”

Meanwhile Russia’s foreign ministry has sought to downplay the significance of the sheer volume of forces deployed for Vostok-2018 as well as Chinese cooperation. Spokeswoman for Russia’s foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, said: “Unfortunately, we are used to the allegations that Russia is preparing for some big conflict. We have been hearing such statements from Nato representatives and some of its members. But there are absolutely no grounds for that.”

Apart from China, a contingent of Mongolian troops will also be part of the games.

No doubt, both Russia and China relish the opportunity of flexing military muscle just as US threats are heating up and tensions are at boiling point over Syria, where both countries have condemned past American and Western military actions targeting the Assad government.

Top Photo | Visitors look at a scale model of Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning, bottom right, among the naval ships on display at the military section of an exhibition entitled ‘Scientific Development and Splendid Achievements’ held ahead of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in Beijing Monday, Nov. 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

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Alexander Ionov

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