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Russian Su-35s deployed to the Heilongjiang border

Su-35S advanced fighters from the Russian Air Force have recently been deployed to the Russia-China border region, even while Beijing is still in negotiations with Moscow on the purchase of a batch of the same planes, reports the Voice of America.

About 12 Su-35S fighters were received by the 23rd Fighter Aviation Regiment of the Russian Air Force, stationed at Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the region of Khabarovsk Krai, on Feb. 12. The Su-35S is currently the most advanced fourth-generation fighter in Russia, sharing many of the same capabilities as the T-50 fifth-generation stealth fighter. Like the T-50, all Su-35S are produced at an aircraft plant located in Komsomolsk-on-Amur.

While the maneuver can be ascribed to bolstering the air defense capabilities of the Russia Far East, the air force base where the planes are now stationed — Dzemgi — happens to be only 300km from China's Heilongjiang provincial border. It is also near the Korean and Japanese borders.

The territorial dispute between China, Japan and South Korea over the East China Sea could very well be the primary reason why the fighters were deployed to the Russian Far East, said the report.

In addition to the advanced fighters, the Pacific Fleet of the Russian Navy also received Alexander Nevsky, a next-generation nuclear ballistic missile submarine, last December. With a displacement of 24,000 tons, Alexander Nevsky is capable of launching missiles carrying a nuclear warhead. To demonstrate Russia's determination in carrying out its own Asia Pivot strategy, the Sevmash shipyard, based in the northwest coastal city of Severodvinsk, is working on a program to modernize the nation's battlecruiser, Admiral Nakhimov.

From the perspective of Russian analysts who support president Vladimir Putin's push to build a strong military, the deployment of the new weapon systems to the Far East symbolizes the return of their motherland as a superpower, said the report. Since the collapse of Soviet Union two decades ago, this is the first time the Russian military has witnessed new weapon systems appearing in mass numbers. Admiral Nakhimov will reportedly begin service with the Russian Pacific Fleet in 2018.

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