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China Sends Tanks, Troops to Russia Ahead of Moscow’s War Games

China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) recently sent a delegation of military tanks and troops from the Chinese city of Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia, to the Russian city of Zabaikalsk in preparation for Beijing’s participation in Moscow’s International Army Games on August 13, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported on Tuesday.

China’s PLA deployed the military equipment and personnel via train from Manzhouli to the neighboring city of Zabaikalsk sometime in recent days, according to a state-run China Central Television (CCTV) report cited by the SCMP on July 26. Manzhouli shares a border with Zabaikalsk and has traditionally served as a major land port of entry between China and Russia.

Russia’s International Army Games are scheduled to take place from August 13 to August 27 across 12 countries. This year’s host nations include Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and India. Russia’s Ministry of Defense has organized the competition annually since 2015, which is also when China began participating in the event.

“A total of 36 international competitions will be held during the Army Games. As many as 13 countries are ready to host some competitions on their territory,” Russia’s state-owned TASS news agency reported in April.

China will host three competitions for this year’s Games, “including an infantry fighting vehicles game and a frigate race,” according to the SCMP.

“Naval infantry from Venezuela, Iran and China will participate in the Seaborne Assault contest of the International Army Games,” an unidentified source told TASS on July 15.

Venezuela will become the first country to host part of the International Army Games in South America this year while nations including Saudi Arabia will participate in the event for the first time in August.

“Chinese and Russian forces have stepped up joint military exercises since 2005, both bilaterally and through multilateral platforms, and these have become more regular in recent years as both countries face increasing acrimony from the West,” the SCMP observed on Tuesday.

“While Beijing and Moscow have said their military cooperation does not target any third country, it has prompted growing suspicion from the West,” according to the Hong Kong-based newspaper.

Russia is currently engaged in its latest war with neighboring Ukraine. The conflict launched on February 24 and has seen much of the West, led by Washington, shun diplomatic relations and business with Moscow. China has, by contrast, strengthened political and economic ties with its Asian neighbor since late February.

Russia’s Defence Ministry describes the International Army Games as “an international platform for militaries to exchange experience and strengthen cooperation.”

 

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