Russian Federation starts biggest war games since USSR

Russian Federation starts biggest war games since USSR

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 Vostk-2018 and would monitor it.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in Russian Federation this week to meet with President Vladimir Putin at an economic forum in Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok.

The exercise - which will involve more than 1,000 military aircraft, two Russian naval fleets, up to 36,000 tanks and armoured vehicles and all Russian airborne units - began as President Vladimir Putin held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Russian port city of Vladivostok.

The activity was part of the first stage of the exercise, which runs until Monday next week, the ministry said in a statement.

The Chinese media described the country's involvement as its largest-ever dispatch of forces overseas for war games.

"The enemy is the United States and its allies".

The Russian army has compared the show of force to the USSR´s 1981 war games that saw between 100,000 and 150,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers take part in "Zapad-81" (West-81) - the largest military exercises of the Soviet era.

Last month, the Kremlin´s spokesman said Russia´s "ability to defend itself in the current global situation which is often aggressive and unfriendly to our country is justified, essential and without alternative".

However, the military drills they had until now were far smaller in scale, reflecting China's caution about alliances.

China's official People's Liberation Army Daily said on Wednesday that the drill was aimed at maintaining regional peace, was not aimed at any third party and did not "have anything to do with the regional situation".

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"Vostok demonstrates Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict".

Tanks roll during the military exercises in Chita, Eastern Siberia, during the Vostok 2018 exercises, September 11, 2018.

Whereas during the drills on its western borders last year, known as Zapad 2017, Russian Federation was accused of downplaying the number of troops involved, this year's war games are the opposite, with Moscow apparently eager to flaunt their scale.

In this photo provided by the Russian Defence Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, a Russian soldier guards an area during the military exercises in the Chita region, Eastern Siberia, during the Vostok 2018 exercises.

However, sanctions imposed on Moscow by the West in response to the annexation of Crimea in 2014, coupled with tighter trade links, have seen them grow closer in recent years.

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

The drills, however, allow Russian Federation to practice mobilizing and effectively transporting a large number of forces.

His Chinese counterpart commented that both countries would continue to "make joint efforts to... push the China-Russia relationship up to a new height".

Moscow said the weeklong Vostok (East) 2018 maneuvers will span vast expanses of Siberia and the Far East, the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans and involve almost 300,000 Russian troops - almost one-third of the country's 1-million-strong military.

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