Putin will attend war games with China and other allies, expert warns of ‘dangerous’ time

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the Vostok-2022 war games that Russia is organizing in coordination with China and other countries allied with Moscow, reports said on Friday.

According to Russian public broadcasting network RT, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin would visit the active phase of military exercises on September 6.

The trip will precede his imminent travel plans to Central Asia in mid-September, when he could meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders of other countries for a regional summit.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are strengthening their relationship.
(Getty Pictures)

“He will work in Vladivostok itself,” Peskov said, referring to an area along the Sea of ​​Japan and just north of North Korea. “The strategic command and staff exercises of the Vostok-2022 armed forces begin here.”

The Russian Defense Ministry said this week that the exercises will take place from September 1 to 7 in several locations in Russia’s Far East.

The exercises will involve more than 50,000 soldiers and the participation of several former Soviet countries, China, India, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua and Syria.

The exercises will take place at seven different firing ranges and will use more than 5,000 weapon units, 140 aircraft and 60 warships.

The massive military exercises not only signify a growing relationship between Russia and China amid heightened tensions with the United States, but are intended to demonstrate Russia’s ability to send tens of thousands of troops to participate in exercises military amid its war in Ukraine, an expert told Fox. New.

“This is a strategic messaging campaign,” said former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) intelligence officer Rebekah Koffler, adding that it meant “the status quo for Russia, despite the fact that war is raging. “.

In this photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry's press service on Monday, August 29, 2022, Chinese soldiers arrive at Grodekovo railway station to take part in war games exercises, in Grodekovo, Primorsky Krai , Russia.

In this photo taken from video released by the Russian Defense Ministry’s press service on Monday, August 29, 2022, Chinese soldiers arrive at Grodekovo railway station to take part in war games exercises, in Grodekovo, Primorsky Krai , Russia.
(Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

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The Russian expert said Putin was letting Western nations know that Moscow was not as isolated as the United States and its allies would like to think amid its war in Ukraine.

“This is a multilateral war game with 2,000 Chinese troops participating – plus 12 other countries, including Syria and possibly India,” she added.

Koffler said Putin might be planning some sort of stunt to “surprise” US and Western allies, like a mock “nuclear weapon release.”

The former DIA intelligence officer referred to military exercises in 2010 when Russian forces simulated a tactical nuclear strike against an invading force.

The 2018 drills saw China’s first-ever participation in the coordinated drills, which were chaired by Putin and Xi in live-fire drills.

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Soldiers take part in a strategic military exercise "Vostok-2022" in Moscow, Russia on September 1, 2022.

Soldiers take part in the “Vostok-2022” strategic military exercise in Moscow, Russia, September 1, 2022.
(Russian Defense Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

“Things like this are prone to misunderstandings, miscalculations and unintentional escalation, especially during active conflict, because relations between Russia and the United States, and China and the United States are extremely tense,” she said.

Koffler pointed out that although this year’s drills are much smaller than previous years, she warned, “We’re in a very dangerous area.”

“Russia and China are behaving recklessly and have no respect for the current US administration,” she added.

The Russian Defense Ministry said this week that as part of the coordinated training operations, the Russian and Chinese navies “will practice joint action to protect maritime communications, maritime economic activity zones and support for ground troops. in littoral zones” in the Sea of ​​Japan.

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The naval drills come as Western defense officials grow increasingly concerned about China’s aggressive behavior towards Taiwan.

It remains unclear whether Xi will officially travel to the regional conference to meet Putin, but reports last month suggested the Chinese president was considering the trip after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taipei earlier in the month. – which sparked an outcry from Beijing.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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