Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Russia launches biggest war games in decades involving China

Russia launches biggest war games in decades involving China

For Russia, the increasingly robust alliance with China is particularly important amid the growing tensions with the United States and its allies, and a looming threat of more biting U.S. sanctions.

The drills, which include the Chinese and Mongolian armies, have been condemned by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as a rehearsal for "large-scale conflict".

"I see little in the long term that aligns Russian Federation and China", he said.

Russian Federation was set to begin its largest military exercise since the Cold War on Tuesday, involving more than 300,000 military personnel, including forces from neighbouring China and Mongolia. The start of Vostok-2018 coincided with a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.

Russian Federation on Tuesday announced the start of the largest war games in its history, mobilizing tens of thousands of troops for the drills that will also see Chinese troops take part, and that has prompted complaints from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that it's "a rehearsal for a major conflict".

"The Vostok 2018 troop exercises have begun in Russia's Far East", the defence ministry said in a report by TASS.

"This is a very important exercise, but it is still part of the annual routine development of the Russian armed forces", he said.

Giles agreed that, if Vostok-2018 is as large as has been announced, it will be comparable in scale with the mammoth 1981 Zapad exercise.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov last month said Russia's "ability to defend itself in the current global situation is justified, essential and without alternative".

Russian Federation has faced ever harsher sanctions since angering the West and Kiev by annexing Crimea in 2014 and backing separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Taking part in the drills are around 300,000 Russian soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 80 ships and 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and drones, as well as 3,500 Chinese troops.

- Vostok-2018 it includes 297,000 servicemen.

"Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving at the same time: tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles - and all of this, of course, in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible", Shoigu said.

Russian Federation has substantially increased the size and frequency of its military exercises in recent years, particularly following its invasion of Crimea in 2014.

Forces from 10 member nations are taking part in the drills amid an ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed separatists.

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