Russian Federation holds biggest military drills since Soviet era

Russia stages world’s largest military drills, NATO worried

The Chinese media have described the People's Liberation Army involvement in the drills as the country's largest-ever dispatch of forces overseas for war games.

China was sending 3,200 troops to take part in "Vostok-2018", with many Chinese armoured vehicles and aircraft.

In previous Russian military manoeuvres, "East 2014", some 155,000 soldiers too part, while in the "West 2017" war games, which took place close to the European Union borders, only 12,700 personnel took part, according to Moscow, although Ukraine and the Baltic countries say their number was much bigger. Up to 1,000 Russian military aircraft, two naval fleets and all Russia's airborne units are also on show.

The week-long Vostok (East) 2018 manoeuvres launched on Tuesday span vast expanses of Siberia and the Far East, the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans.

Crucially, with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation expanding up to Russia's Western border and with "non-aligned" Scandinavian countries Sweden and Finland increasingly cooperating in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation war games, one major element to the games sure to attract the attention of Washington military planners is the inclusion of simulated nuclear weapons attacks.

Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said that the war games would be the most extensive since 1981.

The Russian military says the massive war games, known as Vostok-2018, are purely defensive in nature.

"China, by sending a PLA element to train with the Russians, is signalling that USA pressure is pushing it towards much closer military cooperation with Moscow".

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Russia prepares for biggest war games in its history
The drills kicked off close to Russia's border with China on Tuesday and will run through Saturday. The demonstration of military might will include some joint exercises with the Chinese army.

Russia's General of the Army Valery Gerasimov said Vostok runs from September 11 to 17 and has two stages.

Vostok 2018 is aimed at testing the combat readiness and military capabilities of the three participating nations.

"It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time - a more assertive Russian Federation, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence", said the alliance's spokesman Dylan White.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping were involved in talks at an economic forum in Vladivostok in Russia's far east yesterday.

Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said the games were a "preparation for a future world war".

Some experts pointed that the United States helped spawn closer Russian-Chinese military ties by labelling them strategic competitors.

Last month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov 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".

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