In the middle of war, Russia prepares military games with 37 countries | World

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the military parade, May 9
Reproduction/Kremlin – 09.05.2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers a speech at the military parade, May 9

Armed forces from 37 countries will participate next month in a major military competition, organized by Russia and which will take place in 12 countries. The competition, which has been taking place since 2015, is the largest of its kind since the start of the war in Ukraine, and will bring together nations from four continents, including US allies such as Saudi Arabia.

The so-called International Army Games have been taking place since 2015, and are often referred to as “The Olympics of War”. Competitions include tank and armored races, disputes between intelligence departments, air combat simulations and sniper duels.

In previous years, the event has brought together dozens of countries, including a NATO member, Greece — nations such as France and the US have followed past editions as observers. In 2021, Brazil sent a group of paratroopers to the competition.

This year, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, invitations were sent to 100 internationally unrecognized countries and territories — in 2020 and 2021, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Georgia’s breakaway regions, sent their military.

According to the South China Morning Post, China, which has participated since the first edition, sent a train with troops, tanks and armored vehicles to the Russian Far East, where some competitions will be held – Beijing will also host at least three events. , such as a frigate race and games involving infantry vehicles.

China and Russia have been expanding their cooperation in several fields, including the military, within what the two governments have declared to be an “unlimited partnership”, and which has among its objectives to counter the US presence in Europe and Washington’s advance in Asia. In recent years, military maneuvers, including in areas of Northeast Asia, have ignited red flags between Western powers and their allies in the region.

Perhaps the biggest novelty of this edition is a sniper competition to be held in Venezuela — it is the first time that an event of the International Games of the Russian Army has taken place in the Western Hemisphere. In recent years, as relations between Caracas and Washington have deteriorated, Russia has seen an opportunity to expand its presence in Latin America, despite American protests.

In 2018, the presence on Venezuelan soil of two Russian Tu-160 bombers, which are capable of carrying out nuclear attacks, provoked protests from the White House. Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the move was a demonstration of “two corrupt governments that are embezzling public funds”. Moscow, as expected, said the comments were “inappropriate”.

In February, before the war in Ukraine, Moscow and Caracas discussed implementing “powerful military cooperation”, and Russian Vice Chancellor Sergei Ryabkov even suggested he could deploy troops and equipment in the South American country if tensions escalated. with Washington worsened.

Another highlight is the participation of Niger and Rwanda – even before the start of the war in Ukraine, Russia has been trying to establish a position on the African continent, taking advantage of its dependence on Russian food exports and the demand for military equipment. Some of the Russian defense industry’s best customers are in Africa, and Russian Chancellor Sergei Lavrov is in the region this week to strengthen existing partnerships and make future promises.

Also noteworthy is the presence of US allies in the maneuvers: according to the Russian Defense Ministry, Saudi Arabia will make its debut in the competition this year. Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden was in the country, on a trip that had among its objectives to prevent the Saudis from strengthening their relations with Moscow, but it seems to have arrived a little late.

In June, the kingdom’s energy minister, Abdulaziz bin Salman, said during an economic forum in St. Petersburg that ties between Russia and Saudi Arabia were “hot as the weather in Riyadh”. Last Thursday, Putin spoke by phone with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, where he highlighted the close cooperation between the two countries.

Another country that confirmed its presence this year is India, which is participating with the US, Australia and Japan in the so-called Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, the Quad, aimed at containing China in Asia. New Delhi, however, maintains good relations with Moscow, from which it began to buy more oil after the product was sanctioned by Americans and Europeans after the invasion of Ukraine.

The very Russian ability to coordinate a military competition held in 12 countries, at a time when Moscow is participating in a complex war in Ukraine, should be used by the Kremlin as a message to the West: that Russia, despite international sanctions, it is not isolated in the world, including militarily.

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About Abhishek Pratap

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