Russia-China Military Drills Gaining Momentum

A Russian-Chinese joint antiterrorism exercise in Russia’s Urals region enters its active phase on Saturday, a spokesman for the Central Military District said.


The Peace Mission 2013 drills are being held at the Chebarkul military training area in the Chelyabinsk region from July 27 until August 15 and involve 1,500 personnel and over 250 pieces of military hardware, including 20 aircraft and helicopters.


“After the opening ceremony, the participants will reconnoiter the terrain and start the preparation for practical drills,” Col. Yaroslav Roshchupkin said Friday.


China has sent over 600 personnel as well as tanks, armored personnel carriers, light reconnaissance vehicles, 120-mm self-propelled howitzers, 152-mm self-propelled guns, JH-7A fighter-bombers and helicopters to take part in the exercise.


Moscow and Beijing earlier said these drills are designed to strengthen ties in joint military training and improve coordination between the two countries’ armed forces.


Russia and China have held several joint military exercises since 2005 under the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).


Founded in 2001, the SCO comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It aims to consolidate efforts to counter terrorism and radicalization among member countries, and to coordinate work in other areas such as politics and trade.

Moscow and Beijing have recently vowed to strengthen military cooperation to ensure an adequate and prompt response to common threats.