Russia kicks off large-scale military drills in Far East
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The exercises, called Vostok-2022, are scheduled to take place until September 7 across several training grounds in Russia's Far East and in the waters off its eastern coast.
The active stage of the exercises kicked off Thursday morning with combat aircraft, anti-aircraft unit drills and mine clearance simulations in the Sea of Japan, the Russian defence ministry said.
"Combat aviation crews will have to train in the interception of air targets... and conduct air strikes on ground targets," the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry released images showing military aircraft taking off and flying in formation, as well as Pantsir anti-aircraft vehicles conducting manoeuvres.
Participating countries include several of Russia's neighbours, as well as Syria, India and key ally China.
Similar drills were last held in 2018.
Confirming its participation in the drills in August, China said the joint exercises were "unrelated to the current international and regional situation".
Since Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, Moscow has sought closer ties with countries in Africa, South America and Asia -- particularly China.
Moscow was in full solidarity with Beijing during the August visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to self-ruled, democratic Taiwan, which China considers its territory.