This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.
Russia has begun large military drills in the country’s east that involves forces from China — a show of increasingly close defense ties between Moscow and Beijing amid tensions with the West over the war in Ukraine.
The Vostok 2022 exercises take place in various locations in Russia’s Far East and the Sea of Japan and involve more than 50,000 troops and over 5,000 weapons units, including 140 aircraft and 60 warships, the Russian Defense Ministry said. It will conclude on September 7.
The drills also engage troops from India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Syria, and several former Soviet countries.
India continues to stress its neutrality in its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine, saying it maintains good relations with both the West and Moscow.
China has pointedly refused to criticize Russia’s war in Ukraine, blaming the United States and NATO for provoking Moscow, and has condemned Western sanctions imposed on Moscow.
Russia, in turn, has strongly backed China amid the tensions with the United States that followed a recent visit to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently drew parallels between U.S. support for Ukraine and Pelosi’s trip to Taiwan, charging that both were part of alleged American efforts to foment global instability.