Russia launched, alongside China, its largest war games since the Cold War era.
Moscow says the annual drills, known as Vostok, will be the most expansive since 1981 and will integrate Chinese forces for the first time.
Roughly 300,000 Russian service members, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 aircraft and 80 ships will take part in the exercises, while China’s military will provide 3,200 soldiers and 30 aircraft.
“Preliminary manoeuvres have involved launching dummy torpedos at warships in the Sea of Okhotsk and shooting down cruise missiles and drones in Tajikistan,” the Telegraph notes.
Set to last five days, the drills will allow Russia to show China military tactics learned during the Syrian conflict.
Kui Yanwei, China’s military attaché to Russia, said last week in Moscow that Vostok “will increase the abilities of our armed forces to counter threats to our security and also to learn from the invaluable military experience of the Russian side.”
Michael Kofman, a senior research scientist at U.S.-based research organization CNA, told The Washington Post that the growing alliance between the prior-enemies is intended to send a message to the United States.
“The Chinese right now are sending a clear signal that, one, they don’t see Russia as a threat, which already should be a concern to the United States,” Kofman said. “They are increasingly wishing to signal that increasing confrontation with the United States will drive them toward greater balancing behavior with Russia.”
Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon also issues a statement warning against the two countries increased military cooperation.
“It is increasingly clear that China and Russia want to shape a world consistent with their authoritarian model, and in the process, co-opt or replace the free and open order that has enabled global security and prosperity since World War II,” Pahon said.
Alongside a blooming military partnership, both countries, the target of U.S. sanctions and trade action, have also begun strengthening economic ties.