Russia and China are staging joint war games in a show of unity amid 'mounting pressure' from the West. An estimated 13,000 troops from the People's Liberation Army and the Russian Army have taken part in the exercises in northwestern China. The military drills reflect closer ties between Beijing and Moscow, with the Russian media stressing their aim as being to counter 'mounting pressure' from the West. They also come as both countries join Western and other international powers in attempting to secure stability in Afghanistan as US-led forces leave and the Taliban continue to make territorial gains. Footage showed Russian forces firing from Chinese wheeled tanks and other armoured vehicles. 'Russian servicemen hit most of the targets,' despite their lack of experience with the Chinese-made military equipment, TV Zvezda reported. The network is owned by the Russian ministry of defence. The drills, involving both ground troops and air forces, will continue until Friday in China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region. The region borders Xinjiang, which shares a narrow frontier with Afghanistan. Beijing has voiced concerns of a spillover of 'terrorism' into the formerly restive Xinjiang if the Taliban regain control of Afghanistan. Xinjiang is also the traditional home of the mostly-Muslim Uighur ethnic group. China has been accused by the US of committing genocide in Xinjiang, while international human rights organisations have said state's actions in the region equate to crimes against humanity. China has repeatedly denied human rights abuses against the Uighurs. It claims its so-called 're-education' camps and relocation programmes are intended to combat separatism and Islamist militancy. Russia has separately deployed forces to the old Soviet border with Afghanistan in a joint operation with its allies in central Asia. The Chinese-Russian war games aim to 'deepen the joint anti-terrorism operations between the Chinese and Russian militaries and demonstrate the firm determination and strength of the two countries to jointly safeguard international and regional security and stability,' Xinhua reported, citing Chinese and Russian officials. They show a 'new height of the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era and of the strategic mutual trust, pragmatic exchanges and coordination between the two countries'. More such military exercises are expected involving the forces of the two states. Russian expert Alexander Lomanov told Kommersant that the exercises indicate close cooperation between Russia and China. 'The manoeuvres send a clear signal to those forces in the West that expect to divide Moscow and Beijing,' he said. They 'cement' the cooperation between China and Russia, he said.
CNY - Chinese Yuan Renminbi