(Moscow) Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on Friday the alert and surprise maneuvers of the Russian fleet in the Pacific, in a context of rapprochement with Beijing and tensions with Westerners.

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

During these drills, the ships will practice “repelling massive air attacks”, “seeking and destroying submarines”, as well as firing torpedoes, cannons and missiles, it said. Mr. Shoigu, 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”.

Admiral Nikolai Evmenov, who heads the entire Russian fleet, will be responsible for overseeing these drills, Shoigu said.

Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, meanwhile, assured that the surprise maneuvers were “not related” to NATO’s presence in Asia-Pacific, where all eyes are on China and its American rival.

“It’s usual, routine, army training, development of our armed forces, inspection of their combat readiness,” he said, adding that it’s “not planned.” currently that Vladimir Putin is attending.

“The practice of unannounced inspections continues, it is usual, in recent years, they have taken place on a constant basis,” he added.

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