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February 9, 2018

HMM: Russia Embarks on Military Buildup in the Far East.

Indeed, within the past several months, the Russian side has repeatedly complained about the presence of the United States in the region. Russia’s main concerns are related to the U.S. military bases (especially, the Air Force component) located in Alaska along with the significant potential (including six aircraft carriers) of the U.S. Pacific Fleet (RIA Novosti, December 18, 2017). Another area of concern for Moscow has been the increasing number of military exercises held by U.S., South Korean and the Japanese naval forces, which is “aggravated” by the growing U.S. military presence in the Pacific region (for instance, the expanding U.S. military potential in South Korea—see EDM, July 22, 2016).

And yet, Russia denies (which frequently occurs in other theaters as well) any attempts to embark on the militarization of the Far East. According to prominent Russian military expert Mikhail Khodarenok, “We are not starting any sort of arms race in the Far East, we are not pursuing saber rattling or preaching war […] we are merely trying to take back what used to be ours.” He further stated that the creation of the new army unit in the Far East and the buildup in local military capabilities is nothing but a “return to common sense” and “the patching up of the old ramshackle hedge—not the creation of a new wall” (RIA Novosti, December 19, 2017).

It’s curious that Russia claims to be so concerned about a few air and naval bases when there are major formations of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army just on the other side of the border from resource-rich-but-sparsely-populated Siberia.