Tags: russia | china | naval drills | belarus | ukraine

Russia, China to Hold Joint Naval Drills

By    |   Monday, 19 December 2022 04:05 PM EST

Russia said it will hold joint naval drills with China.

The Russian Defense Ministry said Monday that a group of warships of the Pacific Fleet from Vladivostok had been in naval exercises with China, starting Wednesday through Dec. 27.

The exercises would include "joint rocket and artillery firing at air targets, artillery firing at sea targets, as well as practicing joint anti-submarine actions with the practical use of weapons," according to the Defense Ministry. Its primary goal is to strengthen naval cooperation between Russia and China to counter threats at sea and maintain peace in the Asia-Pacific region.

The reports of the joint exercises came the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin met with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko in Minsk. Russia seeks to draw its closest ally into the war.

Lukashenko signaled he will not get involved. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described such reports as "stupid and unfounded" and that Putin was traveling to Belarus to force Minsk into special military operations, according to Russia state news agency RIA Novosti.

On Monday, Russia's Defense Ministry's channel, Zvezda, posted a video of Russian troops training in Belarus. Belarus' Defense Ministry said Monday it was completing combat readiness checks.

Lukashenko allowed Moscow to use Belarus as a staging ground to deploy troops to Ukraine. Tens of thousands of Russian troops were stationed there.

"Belarus is not only our good neighbor … but also our ally in the truest sense of the word," Putin said in televised remarks at the start of the talks with Lukashenko.

Putin outlined a trade turnover between the two nations has increased by a third in 2021 to $38 billion and was expected to reach $40 billion this year.

He stressed the joint developments and cooperation in high-tech industries and space.

Lukashenko said: "The strengthening of Belarusian-Russian relations has become a natural response to the changing situation in the world, in which we … are being constantly tested for our resilience. Despite some rough edges, we are still finding effective responses to various challenges and threats."

Putin said there was created a unified air defense system. It was referred to as a "special warhead."

"This form of cooperation is not our invention, the United States has been conducting similar activities with its allies within the NATO bloc for decades," Putin said, adding that he and his Belarusian counterpart had "agreed to continue to jointly take all necessary measures to reliably ensure the security of our two countries."

In addition to Lukashenko, China's Xi Jinping has been an ardent supporter of Russia and its causes, although he has tried to put some distance between his country from Russia. Beijing argues for a "fair settlement" in the conflict, according to a diplomatic call between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi.

Russia, in turn, has backed China's tension with the U.S. over Taiwan.

Russia's Defense Ministry said the Pacific Fleet's flagship Varyag missile cruiser, the Marshal Shaposhnikov frigate, and the warships Aldar Tsydenzhapov and Sovershenny would be in the drills for Russia. China's naval forces includes two destroyers, two patrol ship, an integrated supply ship and a diesel submarine, according to Russia's Defense Ministry.

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A strong partnership exists between China and Russia, so much so that Russia said it will hold joint naval drills with China. The Kremlin plans to bolster this support as the West is more isolated with the war in Ukraine.
russia, china, naval drills, belarus, ukraine
Monday, 19 December 2022 04:05 PM
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