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Russia begins surprise fleet maneuvers in the Pacific

On Friday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced sudden readiness and maneuvers for the Russian fleet in the Pacific Ocean, in the context of rapprochement with Beijing and tensions with Westerners.

On orders from President Vladimir Putin, Mr. Shoigu said Russia’s Pacific Fleet, based in Vladivostok in the Far East, would “at short notice” work on combat training in “near and far” sea areas.

During these exercises, the ships will practice “repelling massive air attacks,” “searching and destroying submarines,” as well as firing torpedoes, cannons and missiles, Mr. Shoigu said, during a meeting with high-ranking officers.

According to the minister, these maneuvers aim to “strengthen the capabilities of the armed forces to repel aggression.”

Shoigu said that Admiral Nikolai Evminov, who heads the entire Russian fleet, will be responsible for supervising these exercises.

Meanwhile, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov confirmed that these sudden maneuvers are “not linked” to NATO’s presence in the Asia-Pacific region, as all eyes are on China and its American rival.

“It is the usual and routine military training and development of our armed forces and an inspection of their combat readiness,” he said, adding that it was “not planned” currently that Vladimir Putin would attend.

He added that “unannounced inspections continue, and it is typical in recent years that they happen constantly.”

This announcement comes at a time when China, which regularly conducts joint military exercises with the Russian army, announced on Friday that the Chinese Minister of Defense will visit Russia, from April 16 to 19.