A Ukrainian serviceman fires a weapon during fighting with pro-Russian separatists in Pesky village, near Donetsk January 21, 2015.
A Ukrainian serviceman fires a weapon during fighting with pro-Russian separatists in Pesky village, near Donetsk January 21, 2015Reuters

Russia is planning to conduct joint military drills with its allies such as North Korea and Cuba, in response to the increased International isolation it has faced due to the growing opposition from Western countries with regard to its policies, a local report stated on Monday.

Valery Gerasimov, the chief of staff of the Russian armed forces, made the announcement in a meeting held to discuss strategic defence measures, a local Russian publication reported.

In the meeting, which was also attended by Russia's Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu and the heads of all the Russian armed forces, Gerasimov said: "We are planning an expansion of the communication lines of our military central command. We are entering preliminary negotiations with the armed forces of Brazil, Vietnam, Cuba and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

"We are going to conduct a series of joint naval and air force exercises, as well as joint drills of our ground troops and air assault troops," the Russian armed forces official added.

The revelation comes as Russia is being cornered by the international community as increased sanctions have been slapped by the West due to Moscow's alleged involvement in the Ukraine conflict and its support to pro-Russian separatists.

Relations between Russia and the United States have sunk to its lowest since the Cold War and the Kremlin appears to be seeking support from the few of its allies left.

News Week cited former US ambassador to the Ukraine Steven Pifer as saying that Russia is probably looking to develop military partnerships in response to the international isolation faced due to growing criticism from the Western allies thanks to the Vladimir Putin-led country's activities ranging from annexation of Crimea to its alleged military activities in Eastern Ukraine.

"The Russian military may be reaching out to other countries as part of Moscow's effort to show that it is not isolated, despite the very negative international reaction to Russian aggression against Ukraine," Pifer was quoted as saying.

Among other strategic activities of the Russian military, the US and Europe will be closely watching its growing amity with North Korea - which has also been struggling to resist growing diplomatic pressure from the US due to its nuclear proliferation as well as its dictatorial regime which has been accused of perpetrating crimes against humanity.

The US has simultaneously punished both the allies with sanctions, and while the US is pushing to take Pyongyang to the International Court of Justice for its alleged human rights issue, Washington has been responsible for the economic woes Russia is currently facing.

Russia already stands in an advantageous position as far its plan to ameliorate relations with North Korea is concerned. While rumours had it that the leader of the reclusive nation, Kim Jong-un, had sent a special envoy to Russia in November last year, the nuclear-armed aggressive nation had reportedly also sought to purchase Russian advanced Sukhoi Su-35 fighter jets – an indication that Pyongyang was trying to militarily equip itself to face the growing US "threats".

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