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Russia Revives Military Ambitions

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Russia Revives Military Ambitions

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Russia continues to emphasize its military might through expansive war games with China, large-scale weapons purchases, and a massive naval buildup set to begin in 2014.

Alexei Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images
Naval lineup: Russian military ships take part in exercises in the Pacific Ocean near Sakhalin Island (July 16, 2013).

“An armada of Chinese and Russian warships sailed in ceremonial formation in the Sea of Japan, off the port of Vladivostok…in what was the high point of joint naval exercises intended to show the growing unity between two countries with a historically uneasy relationship,” The New York Times reported.

The newspaper further stated, “The diversity of vessels and the more sophisticated exercises illustrated a sudden deepening of the military cooperation between Russia and China, said Nan Li, associate professor in the strategic research department at the United States Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

“In a joint naval exercise last year between the two countries, maneuvers were restricted to counterterrorism and piracy, he said. This time the exercises included fleet air defense, antisubmarine warfare and surface warfare.”

Alexei Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images
Spectators: Russian President Vladimir Putin (second from right) watches military exercises (July 16, 2013).

Along with the exercises, earlier this year, President Vladimir Putin announced additional Russian military games at a scale not seen “since the Soviet era or perhaps even during that period,” United Press International reported.

The Washington Times described the games, which simulated an attack from the United States and Japan. “On the march across Siberia: 160,000 troops [are] accompanied by 5,000 tanks and 320 tons of equipment. And in the Pacific, there are 70 ships at sea, and 130 combat aircraft overhead, including nuclear bombers.”

Regarding the military buildup, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted by RIA Novosti as stating, “As a result of the implementation of the state rearmament program to 2020, the navy should receive eight nuclear-powered strategic submarines, 16 multirole submarines and 54 warships of various classes.”

In the last few years, Russia has continued to raise its military profile by building strategic ties with other nations, with the more recent war games just another step in this process.

“This shows unprecedented good relations between China and Russia,” professor Wang Ning, director of the Center for Russian Studies at the Shanghai International Studies University told the The New York Times. “It shows that the two countries will support each other on the global stage.”

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