Russia and China are holding “large scale” war games – and the Pentagon has taken notice.
China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) announced that war games would take place the final week of September, with military troops slated to undergo training to prepare them for “real war” conditions. The China war games will involve the use of ships, aircraft, trains and ground vehicles and involve both “civilian assets” and soldiers. Vehicles and aircraft utilized in the military exercise will also include civilian modes of transportation.
Meanwhile, in Russia, military training activities already were held, reportedly involving thousands of soldiers and taking place in both Asia and Europe.
NATO troops are scheduled to engage in equally massive war games beginning in November. United States officials say that the NATO military drills will focus on countering a westward Russian military encroachment.
The Russian’s Zapad-13 war games in Belarus reportedly included simulated attacks on states in the West. An American military said “the Russians are moving forces closer to Europe, and that is troubling,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Approximately 13,000 Belarusian and Russian troops participated in more than 60 helicopter and aircraft drills. The Russian war games also included “rapid reaction” drills as a part of the military training exercises. The military drills were designed to help troops improve their precision when conducting missile and air strikes.
In June, Russian Air Force Chief Lt. General Vladimir Bondarev announced that an air base in Belarus would be opened near the border of Lithuania and Poland. The Russian air base would be suitable for Su-27 warplanes. The base will be the first opened in Europe by Russia since the Soviet Union fell apart. Russian also has bases in Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Tajikistan.
Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarus President, has reportedly moved toward the ways of the former Soviet Union, and symbols associated with a Soviet Belarus are reappearing in the country. Russia has also installed a ballistic missile warning radar and a naval communications facility in Belarus. Such a facility could be used to communicate with submarines. Belarus was reportedly given Tor-M3 surface-to-air missiles and advanced S-300 missile defenses by Russia.
“The theme of the exercise is the training and the engagement of troops in order to ensure the military security of the Union State [of Belarus and Russia],” said Belarusian Deputy Defense Minister Major General Pyotr Tsikhanowski. “New weapons and military equipment will be tested during the exercises. At the same time, the conflicting states are hypothetically located within the actual borders of Belarus and the three western and northwestern regions of Russia.”
Polish officials disputed a press report that the Russia and China war games would simulate a nuclear strike on the country’s capital. A Polish government official identified as only a “high-ranking officer” called the supposed targeting of the capital “nothing but imagination” by local journalists.
Pentagon officials reportedly believe the war games are part of an effort by Russia to showcase their military might and enhance its standing in former Soviet Union nations. European NATO nations are not thrilled with the Russian war games and Belarus military enhancements. Although Russia has deemed the exercises and equipment part of “anti-terrorism exercises,” the Lithuanians remain unconvinced there is not something more sinister involved.
“If you look at the Baltic Sea region, the strategic balance has been changing quite drastically in the last decade, and not in our favor,” said Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks. “We are concerned because we see such large-scale exercises in context.”
The Cold War with Russian supposedly ended a long time ago. Do you feel that Russia and China are once again emerging as threats against America?