Russia launches largest military drill since Cold War
14 September, 2018, 20:34
Russian officials have said that the war games are not meant as a threat to any particular country but are justified by what Putin's spokesman described on August 28 as a hostile global environment.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said earlier that the drills involve almost 300,000 Russian troops, about 36,000 military vehicles, more than 1,000 aircraft and around 80 ships.
The week-long war games - dubbed "Vostok-2018" (East-2018) - "have kicked off" in far eastern Russia, the Russian defense ministry said.
"The maneuvers are not directed against other countries and are in line with our military doctrine, which is defensive in character", said Valery Gerasimov, the chief of Russia's general staff.
In 2017, Russian Federation conducted series of military drills in its western regions, in collaboration with Belarus.
Mr Shoigu said Vostok-2018 will be "unprecedented in scale, both in terms of area of operations and numbers of military command structure, troops and forces involved", adding that it will also be "the largest preparatory action for the armed forces since Zapad-81".
In recent months the United States has imposed more sanctions over alleged Russian interference in the presidential elections and the poisoning of ex-double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in Britain.
China's participation will enhance its counterattack abilities and reinforce ties with Russia, Chinese government officials said Tuesday. The event, called Vostok or East 18, began as President Putin met President Xi of China.
It can be said that China and Russian Federation have been moving closer in a bid to take on the US.
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China, for its part, may want to see the latest in military technology and advanced jet engines which Russian Federation possessed, Watling said.
"Vostok-2018" is the largest military drill in the last 37 years.
- Three brigades of Russian paratroops will play a key role, during drills at the Tsugol military range, near Russia's borders with China and Mongolia.
The drills come at a time of escalating tensions between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Russian Federation.
Last month, the Kremlin's spokesman said Russia's "ability to defend itself in the current worldwide situation which is often aggressive and unfriendly to our country is justified, essential and without alternative".
Ukraine-Russia relations have not been very good after Crimea was annexed to Russia in 2014.
The exercise is meant to test the capability of the Russian military.
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