China Sending Troops to Russia For Joint Military Exercise

China's Defence Ministry Says Drills are 'unrelated to the current international and regional situation'

Chinese troops will travel to Russia to take part in a joint military exercise, along with other countries including India, Belarus, and Tajikistan.

The Chinese defense ministry said the exercises — part of an ongoing bilateral cooperation agreement — are unrelated to the current international and regional situation.

Moscow announced plans in July to hold “Vostok” (East) exercises from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5. The last time the exercises took place was in 2018, the year China participated for the first time.

Earlier this month, Russian senator Vladimir Dzhabarov pledged Vladimir Putin’s support to China if it goes to war over Taiwan.

“I see no grounds to refuse help China,” he said. “But, I would like to see a two-way movement with China. It means we should have some benefits from this cooperation.”

The 69-year-old lawmaker and former FSB officer said the Kremlin’s backing would be contingent upon Beijing’s support for the war in Ukraine.

“I am convinced that in this case China hopes for a certain assistance from Russia… because it will be difficult for China to confront the United States without Russia’s support,” he said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin have grown closer over recent years. In Feb. 2022, the pair released a joint statement touting their nations’ “no limits” friendship or forbidden areas of cooperation.

In the statement, Beijing and the Kremlin appeared to issue tacit criticism of U.S. foreign policy and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“Certain States’ attempts to impose their own ‘democratic standards’ on other countries, to monopolize the right to assess the level of compliance with democratic criteria, to draw dividing lines based on the grounds of ideology, including by establishing exclusive blocs and alliances of convenience, prove to be nothing but flouting of democracy and go against the spirit and true values of democracy,” the statement said. “Such attempts at hegemony pose serious threats to global and regional peace and stability and undermine the stability of the world order.”

Russia and China have the second and third strongest militaries, following the United States.

China has more manpower available than any country on earth, with a total population of more than 1.3 billion people, two million active duty military personnel, 19 million reaching military age annually, and available manpower of more than 754 million people.

Russia has nearly 900 more total aircraft than China, 739 more dedicated attack aircraft, 631 more helicopters, 7,170 more tanks, and 8,291 more pieces of artillery than China.

The Kremlin also controls the world’s largest nuclear arsenal, harboring a total of 6,257 nuclear weapons. The U.S. has 5,550, while China ranks third with 350 available.

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