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Main Diplomacy — ISW: The Kremlin is using the Army-2023 forum in Moscow to foster bilateral military and political relations with other states

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ISW: The Kremlin is using the Army-2023 forum in Moscow to foster bilateral military and political relations with other states

16 Aug, 2023
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ISW: The Kremlin is using the Army-2023 forum in Moscow to foster bilateral military and political relations with other states

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The Kremlin is using the Army-2023 forum in Moscow (August 14-20) to foster bilateral military and political relations with other states and posture itself as a reliable and technologically advanced partner. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) claimed that over 77,000 representatives from over 1,500 Russian defense industrial base (DIB) enterprises are presenting over 28,500 defensive and technical developments at the forum, and that representatives from over 82 countries are in attendance.The MoD claimed that Russia conducted 14 bilateral meetings on the first day of the forum.

Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin met with officials from Myanmar, Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh, and Djibouti to discuss bilateral defense relations.

The Russian MoD also posted photographs of Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu viewing Iranian, Chinese, and Indian exhibitions.

Chinese Defense Minister Colonel General Li Shangfu spoke at the forum to celebrate Russian-Chinese strategic cooperation and to signal Chinese readiness for further cooperation.

The Russian MoD featured multiple Iranian drones at the forum.

The Russian MoD also postured itself as a viable long-term defense partner and weapons producer by hosting conversations on long term Russian military training, the intended integration of artificial intelligence  into Russian weapons and control systems, the utilization of three-dimensional printing for Russian naval repairs, and the modernization of domestic rescue and underwater equipment.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Shoigu made largely boilerplate comments framing the Russian government as effectively meeting Russian force generation efforts, portraying Western and Ukrainian resources as limited, and promoting international cooperation against the West. Shoigu claimed on August 15 at the Moscow International Security Conference that the Russian defense industrial base (DIB) has produced various weapons, tanks, armored vehicles, and drones in an amount of time and alleged that Russian and Soviet equipment capabilities surpass Western equipment capabilities.

Shoigu claimed that Western sanctions on Russia have helped to increase domestic military equipment production through import substitution at DIB enterprises, part of a longstanding (and inaccurate) Kremlin narrative since 2014 claiming that international sanctions strengthen Russia.

Shoigu claimed that in contrast, Ukrainian resources and Western military arsenals are almost completely depleted.

ISW continues to assess that Russia has failed to mobilize its DIB to adequately support the war effort, however.

Russian President Vladimir Putin reiterated unsubstantiated claims on August 15 at the Moscow International Security Conference that the West is responsible for "igniting the conflict” in Ukraine.

Shoigu and Putin reiterated rhetoric accusing the West of creating instability in Africa, Latin America, and Asia and advocated for deepening Russian defense relations with those countries and the creation of a “multipolar world order.”

Shoigu also alleged that the West escalated international conflicts including "the situation around Taiwan.”

Shoigu’s reference to Taiwan likely indicates Russia’s continued efforts to create a “no limits” partnership between Beijing and Moscow despite China’s reservations

The Odessa Journal

The Odessa Journal

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