Russian and Chinese warships have been conducting exercises around Japan since Friday as part of the Russian army’s Vostok 2022 strategic exercises which end on Wednesday.
In a statement on Saturday, China’s Ministry of National Defense said the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) was taking part in the exercise with a surface action group including the destroyer CNS. nanchang (101), CNS frigate Yancheng (546) and CNS tanker Dongpinghu (902). The warships conducted a live-fire anti-aircraft drill in the Sea of Japan on Friday, Japanese officials said.
Vostok 2022 is an exercise involving the forces of the Russian Eastern Military District as well as invited foreign participants and observers from thirteen countries, namely Azerbaijan, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, India, Kazakhstan , Kyrgyzstan, China, Laos, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Syria. and Tajikistan. China’s participation includes more than 2,000 military personnel, 300 military vehicles and equipment, 21 fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft and nanchang, Yancheng and Dongpinghuall from the Northern Theater Command of China.
On Friday, a Russian corvette and a missile range instrumentation ship had been sighted in the Sea of Japan according to the Joint Staff Office (JSO) of the Japanese Ministry of Defense issued a statement on Saturday. The two ships then transited through the La Pérouse Strait in the Sea of Okhotsk. Hull numbers and images identify Russian ships as RFS corvette Gremyashchiy (337) and RFS Missile Range Instrumentation Ship Marshal Krylov (331). The Russian ships were guarded by the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) destroyer JS. yudachi (DD-103), JS fast attack ship Kumataka (PG-827) and JMSDF P-3C Orions Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) of Fleet Air Wing 2 parked at JMSDF Hachinohe Air Base, Honshu.
The JSO released a statement saying that on Saturday, three Russian corvettes along with a PLAN destroyer, a frigate and a supply ship were sighted sailing east in an area 118 miles west of Cape Kamui, Hokkaido . Corvettes are RFS Soverhennyy (333), RFS Gromky (335) and RFS Hero of the Russian Federation Aldar Tsydenzhapov (339) while the PLAN ships were nanchang, Yancheng and Dongpinghu. On Sunday, Chinese state media released a video of PLAN warships firing close-in weapons systems and refueling. The ships conducted machine gun drills in the area. Subsequently, early Sunday, the six ships were spotted sailing northeast in an area 31 miles west of Rebun Island, Hokkaido, then sailing east through the Strait of La Perouse. The PLAN ships had been sighted earlier on August 29 in the East China Sea and were transiting the Tsushima Strait afterwards. The Russian and PLAN ships were followed by yudachi, Kumataka and P-3C Orions from Fleet Air Wing 2.
Apart from naval movements, the Vostok exercise was downplayed by British officials.
“Russia has publicly claimed that 50,000 troops will participate, however, it is unlikely that more than 15,000 will be actively involved this year. This represents approximately 20% of the forces that took part in the last Vostok exercise in 2018,” said a UK Ministry of Defense intelligence assessment on September 2.
“Russia’s military performance in Ukraine has highlighted that Russian military strategic exercises, such as Vostok, have failed to maintain the military’s ability to conduct complex large-scale operations. Such events are heavily scripted, do not encourage initiative, and are primarily aimed at impressing Russian leaders and international audiences.