Vostok 2022: Russian military joins allies in major exercises |  Europe |  News and current events from across the continent |  DV

Vostok 2022: Russian military joins allies in major exercises | Europe | News and current events from across the continent | DV

After several weeks of preparation, Russia began military exercises “Vostok-2022” (“Vostok-2022”). In the coming days, the Air Force, paratroopers and other units will test their combat readiness at 13 military training grounds in Russia, and exercises will be held in Siberia, the Far Eastern Federal District, the Sea of ​​Okhotsk and the Sea of ​​Japan.

Although the Russian leadership is keeping the exact number of troops involved secret, the Vostok 2022 exercise is expected to involve around 50,000 soldiers, 140 aircraft and 60 Navy ships. deployed some 300,000 troops for exercises, the largest number ever mobilized since the end of the Cold War.

Chinese military equipment is sent to Russia for exercises

Many other countries are joining the large-scale exercise, attracting widespread international attention. The message is clear: Russia wants to let the West know that it still has strong and loyal allies and can hold major exercises despite the war in Ukraine.

China: rival turned into partner

The People’s Republic of China is Russia’s strongest partner in Exercise Vostok this year. Back in 2018, Beijing sent several thousand soldiers to the exercises, thereby emphasizing its solidarity with Moscow. Despite China being seen as Russia’s strategic rival, Chinese figures participated in Exercise Vostok in 2018 at all levels. In previous years, Moscow has cooperated with many states that were once under Soviet control.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has not prompted Beijing to abandon this year’s exercises. On the other hand. According to the Chinese Ministry of Defense, “The goal is to develop more practical and friendly cooperation with the armies of the participating states, raise the level of strategic cooperation between the participants, and strengthen our ability to respond to various security threats.” Earlier this week, Chinese troops began arriving in Primorsky Krai in Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District.

Soldiers pose during the opening ceremony of the Vostok-2022 exercises.

Soldiers pose during the opening ceremony of the Vostok-2022 exercises.

This is not their first exercise since the beginning of the war in Ukraine. In May, Russia and China sent bombers for joint exercises around Japan and South Korea. Indeed, in early February, both states promised that their friendship would have no boundaries..

At the same time, China does not actively support Russian forces in Ukraine with troops or heavy military equipment.

India: finding balance

India, like China, avoids condemning Russia’s attack on Ukraine. This is due to the fact that India is trying to balance the situation by providing humanitarian assistance to Ukraine, while maintaining close cooperation with Russia. For example, India has been buying large volumes of Russian oil since the West imposed sanctions on it.

Delhi is also engaged in military cooperation with the United States. More recently, Indian soldiers and US special forces have been training together near the Chinese border.

Indian Brahmos missiles, developed jointly with Russia, on display in New Delhi

Indian Brahmos missiles, developed jointly with Russia, on display in New Delhi

A few weeks ago, the Indian media began reporting on Indian troops due to take part in the Vostok 2022 exercise. Both countries, Russia and India, have a long history of arms sales and military cooperation. There have been rumors that India might want to buy a Russian hypersonic long-range bomber.

However, India’s contribution to Vostok 2022 will be limited. According to media reports, no more than 75 military personnel can join the exercises. Last year, India sent troops to Russia’s Zapad exercise in the country’s west.

Belarus: under the heel of Russia

In the winter of 2022, Belarus served as a staging area for Russian troops ahead of their invasion of neighboring Ukraine. At the time, Russia claimed that its 100,000 troops were only stationed there as part of a joint military exercise. Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko has not yet sent his troops to Ukraine.

However, a small contingent of soldiers is sent to the Vostok exercises this year. The Belarusian Defense Ministry says no more than 250 servicemen from a mechanized brigade will join the exercises.

Tajikistan and Mongolia: continued dependence on Russia

Not surprisingly, Tajikistan and Mongolia are also participating in large-scale exercises. After all, both countries maintain close military ties to Moscow and are economically dependent on Russia. Mongolia’s involvement may also be related to its desire to establish and maintain good relations with its other neighbor, China.

In addition to the political symbolism of their participation, Tajikistan and Mongolia will also want to see Russian military hardware in action.

This article was originally published in German.

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