President Vladimir Putin attended large-scale military exercises on Tuesday involving China and several other Russia-friendly countries, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told local news agencies.
Putin was meeting with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and military chief of staff Valery Gerasimov at the Sergeevski military range and could observe the final phase of the military exercises later, Peskov was quoted as saying.
Putin, Shoigu and Gerasimov gathered to watch Vostok 2022 military drills, after holding a closed meeting. Russia claims 50k troops are taking part jointly with Central Asian countries and China. pic.twitter.com/7kmjwmcUPX
— Mary Ilyushina (@maryilyushina) September 6, 2022
The military drills, called Vostok-2022, started on September 1 and are due to take place until September 7 across several training grounds in Russia’s Far East and in the waters off its eastern coast.
According to Moscow, over 50,000 soldiers and more than 5,000 units of military equipment, including 140 aircraft and 60 ships, will be involved in the drills.
Participating countries include several of Russia’s neighbours, as well as Syria, India and key ally China.
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The Vostok drills are the second joint military exercise conducted by Chinese and Russian troops this year.
Bombers from the two countries conducted a 13-hour drill close to Japan and South Korea in May, forcing those countries to scramble jet fighters, as US President Joe Biden was visiting Tokyo.
Last year, Russia and China held joint military exercises in north-central China involving more than 10,000 troops.
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Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu praised the drills in China’s Ningxia and suggested they could be developed further.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk