Published: Wed, September 12, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Russian Federation joined by China for biggest 'war games' since Soviet era

Russian Federation joined by China for biggest 'war games' since Soviet era

"These are very important drills but they are part of routine annual work to develop the armed forces", he said.

President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend Vostok-2018 after hosting an economic forum in Russia's far eastern city Vladivostok where his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is one of the prominent guests.

Hundreds of thousands Russian troops swept across Siberia on Tuesday in the nation's largest ever war games also joined by China - a powerful show of burgeoning military ties between Moscow and Beijing amid their tensions with the U.S.

About 3,200 Chinese troops, more than 900 pieces of weaponry and 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters will participate in joint training to conduct fire strike and counterattacks, the Chinese Defense Ministry said.

Taking part in the drills are about 300,000 Russian troops, over 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, up to 36,000 tanks, armoured personnel carriers and other vehicles, up to 80 ships and supply vessels, the Defence Ministry added.

But Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said these exercises are even larger, with 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 planes and 80 warships taking part in the drills.

The war games demonstrate "Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict", North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesman Dylan White said in late August, stating that the Western alliance had been briefed about Vostok-2018 and would monitor it.

The drills are being held in Russia's Eastern and Central military districts, which encompass more than half of the country's territory.

The exercise will be carried out in five army training grounds across the Sea of Japan, Bering Straits and Sea of Okhotsk.

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Eighty warships are taking part and the Russian fleet is deploying several frigates equipped with Kalibr missiles - the same type that been used in Syria.

Wednesday will see games featuring anti-aircraft technology, while the main event will be on Thursday, the defence ministry told journalists covering the event in eastern Siberia and the Far East.

"We have trustworthy ties in political, security and defence spheres", the Russian leader said.

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed such concerns on Tuesday.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov argued the exercises were "justified" in "the current worldwide situation" given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes towards Russian Federation.

They are also nearly twice as large as Russia's previous war games, Vostok-2014, in the region, in which 155,000 soldiers took part.

Relations between Russian Federation and the West have been severely strained by Moscow's actions in Ukraine and Syria and its alleged interference in elections in the United States and European countries.

The Russian president has mobilised his army to the country's Far East to take part in unprecedented military drills on a scale not seen since the height of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

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