Uneasy allies China and Russia stage joint exercises

Russia and China have kicked off joint military exercises as the two countries seek to deepen cooperation amid regional security concerns and deteriorating ties with the United States, Russia's Defence Ministry announced on Monday.

Some 13,000 troops are taking part in the five-day Zapad/Interaction 2021 drills in northwestern China’s Ningxia Hui autonomous region.

These are the fourth consecutive exercises between Beijing and Moscow and the first joint drills held in China. The manoeuvres will focus on stability in neighboring Central Asia as both countries look to showcase the growing cooperation between their militaries.

According to the Kommersant business daily, Russian troops will use Chinese-made weapons for the first time in history.

The meaning of such exercises is not only to increase the combat effectiveness of the two armies and their readiness for joint actions. In addition to the purely military-technical area, the West / Interaction-2021 manoeuvres have a significant added value, since they increase the geopolitical capitalisation of Russia and China in the eyes of the West.

Deputy Director Alexander Lomanov, Institute of World Economy and International Relations (Moscow). .

Russia transferred four Su-30SM multipurpose fighters to Chinese forces, whilst Russian troops took part in airborne assault exercises landing in Mi-8 helicopters of the Chinese Air Force.

The exercises will last until August 13th.

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