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Russia and China came close to nuclear war in 1969

Forgotten Fact: Russia and China Almost Started a Nuclear War in 1969, National Interest, Kyle Mizokami, 2 Jul 17, In 1969 the two pillars of the communist bloc, the Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China, nearly went to full-scale war. Years of deteriorating ties between the two countries, once the staunchest of allies, finally led to skirmishing on the long mutual border between the two countries. While tensions were eventually de-escalated, what if the two countries had gone to war?

On March 2, 1969 Soviet troops patrolling Damansky Island (Zhenbao) on the Ussuri River came under fire from Chinese troops. The attack, just 120 miles from the major Soviet city of Khabarovsk, killed fifty Soviet troops and wounded many more. The Moscow believed that the attack was premeditated, with Beijing bringing in a special combat unit to ambush Soviet forces. Alleged atrocities against wounded Soviet troops made the Soviet leadership furious.

 Soviet border guards counterattacked Chinese forces in and around the island on March 15, according to the CIA killing “hundreds” of Chinese troops. Clashes continued through the spring and summer, and by August, CIA director Richard Helms had informed the press that the Soviet leadership had been discreetly inquiring with foreign governments about their opinion on a preemptive strike on China………

The de-escalation of the Sino-Soviet crisis in 1969 avoided what could have been yet another large, destructive war of the twentieth century. The current friendship between Moscow and Beijing is a reflection of that crisis and the realization that it’s much better for both countries to be allies than enemies. This is particularly in Moscow’s interests: given Beijing’s rapid military and economic progress over the past thirty years, next time, the Kremlin may find the tables turned. http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/forgotten-fact-russia-china-almost-started-nuclear-war-1969-21398

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July 3, 2017 - Posted by | China, history, Russia, weapons and war

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