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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Will Stewart & Liam Buckler

Russia and China launch major military show of strength against West with 50,000 troops

Russia and China have launched a major military show of strength against the West - with more than 50,000 troops, 140 aircraft, and 60 warships on display.

As Vladimir Putin ’s forces struggle in his war against Ukraine, the Vostok-2022 drills are thousands of miles from the devastating conflict in Europe.

But with 5,000 military vehicles on show, the aim of the Pacific exercises is to demonstrate the joint resolve of Moscow and Beijing standing up to the West.

In addition, they have also other “allies” like India - to America’s annoyance - and Mongolia joining in.

However, the drills gloss over Russia's annoyance at the lack of concrete military and technical backing in the Ukraine conflict from China.

Chinese service members take part in military exercises during the opening ceremony (via REUTERS)

But Beijing today offered words of support for Vladimir Putin, with the Chinese ambassador to Russia, Zhang Hanhui, accusing NATO of expanding five times eastward by deploying a large number of advanced strategic offensive weapons to eastern Europe.

In addition, attempting to impose itself in the Asia-Pacific region.

"As it turns out, it is not China and Russia that pose a systemic challenge to NATO, but rather NATO is gradually becoming a serious threat to world peace and security," Zhang told Global Times.

At the same time, the West was undermining the world economy with its sanctions targeted at Russia, he said.

The drills gloss over Russian annoyance at the lack of more concrete military and technical backing in the Ukraine conflict from China (via REUTERS)

“Some Western countries led by the US have politicised and weaponised the financial system, wielded the stick of sanctions.

'"And pursued unilateralism and power politics in international relations in the name of so-called democracy, human rights, and a rules-based international order.”

This “severely violates the principles of the market economy and international trade rules and has a huge impact on global industrial and supply chains, energy, finance, and food security.”

60 warships, 140 aircraft, 5,000 military vehicles and 50,000 troops were on display (MoD Russia/e2w)

The war games were opened by deputy Russian Defence Minister Colonel-General Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, in the absence of his boss Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is seen as being sidelined by Putin over war failures in Ukraine.

"Today, soldiers and officers of ten states are standing in a single formation, and a total of 14 countries are taking part in the exercise,” said Yevkurov.

The exercises are to show the joint resolve of Moscow and Beijing in standing up to the West (MoD Russia/e2w)

“Tens of thousands of servicemen and thousands of units of equipment are performing combat training missions according to a single plan at nine training grounds in real time.”

He said: "Exercises held within a coalition of states help formulate a common understanding regarding the organisation of forces' training.

"Their command and interaction at operative and tactical levels, as well as help strengthen friendship and combat partnership between servicemen.”

Azeri service members taking part at a firing ground in the far eastern Primorsky region, Russia (via REUTERS)

Another Kremlin deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin said: “The drills are not aimed against any particular state or military alliance and are purely of a defensive nature.”

The Vostok-2022 drills are underway at nine practice ranges in Russia’s Eastern Military District.

They will continue until 7 September.

Apart from Russia and China, troops from Azerbaijan, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Syria, and Tajikistan are involved.

The participation of China and India comes amid deep strains between the world’s two most populous countries.

The Vostok-2022 drills are underway at nine practice ranges in Russia’s Eastern Military District (via REUTERS)

India stresses its neutrality over the Ukraine war and seeks to maintain good relations with both Western countries and Moscow.

Its military equipment is mainly sourced in Russia, but it is also a member of the Indo-Pacific Quad alliance with the United States, Japan and Australia.

White House Press Secretary Karen Jean-Pierre said: "The United States has concerns about any country exercising with Russia while Russia wages an unprovoked, brutal war against Ukraine.

“But, of course, every participating country will make its own decisions. And I'll leave it at that.”

On India, she said: “We have concerns over any country exercising with Russia while Russia is waging this unprovoked war."

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