In a development that captured international attention, Russian Navy ships have concluded their joint patrolling mission with Chinese warships in the Pacific Ocean, a maneuver lasting over three weeks and extending close to the US West Coast. As reported by Al Jazeera, the Interfax news agency detailed that the Russian Pacific Fleet’s warships covered a distance exceeding 7,000 nautical miles (13,000 km) across the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering Sea, and the Pacific Ocean.
During their voyage, the combined Russian-Chinese flotilla navigated past the Kuril Islands (known as the Northern Territories in Japan), an area that has been a longstanding source of friction between the two neighboring countries. This route led them along the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido. Additionally, sections of the Aleutian Islands archipelago, situated close to the Kamchatka Peninsula, came under the observation of these vessels. While the Commander Islands are under Russian jurisdiction, the majority of the Aleutian Islands belong to the US state of Alaska.
Of particular note was the presence of 11 Russian and Chinese ships in the vicinity of the Aleutian Islands, marking one of the most significant joint flotillas to approach US coastal regions. According to a Wall Street Journal report from early August, these vessels operated without encroaching upon US territorial waters, a point reiterated by Al Jazeera, citing Interfax sources.
The extensive patrol exercise saw the involvement of some of the most sizeable warships from the Russian Pacific Fleet. The joint operations included exercises focusing on anti-submarine and anti-aircraft activities. Search operations were carried out utilizing helicopters and naval aircraft from both sides to locate simulated enemy submarines. Notably, mock missile launches were conducted targeting simulated enemy ships, as highlighted by the news agency.This collaboration followed China’s earlier participation in a substantial joint military exercise with Russia in September.
Vostok 2022 Exercise Overview
- Scope: A large-scale joint military exercise
- Participants: Russia and China
- Personnel Involved: Nearly 2,000 personnel
- Military Vehicles: 300 units
- Combat Aircraft: 21 planes
- Naval Vessels: Three ships
Russia’s Defense Ministry Report
- Magnitude: More than 50,000 soldiers
- Military Equipment: Over 5,000 pieces
- Aircraft: 140 planes
- Warships: 60 vessels