Russian Federation to Hold Largest Military Exercises in almost 4 Decades

12 September, 2018, 17:40 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Map showing planned Russian military manoeuvres for

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.

Russia's military chief of staff says that the military exercises expected to be the biggest in three decades, will involve almost 300,000 troops.

China's presence is being seen as a signal from both countries emphasizing their cooperation at a moment when Moscow and Beijing find themselves in a confrontation with the United States. Thirty-six thousand tanks, 80 ships, and nearly 1,000 aircraft are also taking part, according to the ministry.

Collin Koh, a research fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said the shift away from anti-terrorism drills to more conventional war games could pave the way for greater cooperation between China and Russian Federation.

The start of the exercises coincided with a bilateral meeting between President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping at a forum in Valdivostok, where they vowed to fight attacks on their economies.

For his part, Xi said the two countries' "friendship is getting stronger all the time".

"The focus of the drill has expanded from anti-terrorism to allied defence and counter-attack", China's defence ministry said in a statement.

The huge week-long exercise, called Vostok 2018, is being held in eastern Siberia, and also includes the Chinese army.

In the strategic drills, the PLA and Russian armed forces have formed a joint operational commanding system, under which military forces from the two countries will hold joint exercises including mechanized defense,fire strike and counter-attack training. As with the large-scale exercises Russian Federation held past year on its western border, Vostock is viewed as meant to simulate a major conflict with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces.

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"Fundamentally, the goal of this specific exercise is to project Russian military power in the Asia-Pacific region", Kokcharov said.

Russia´s previous military exercise in the region, Vostok-2014, was nearly half the size, with 155,000 soldiers participating.

Russian military helicopters fly overhead in Chita, Eastern Siberia, during the Vostok 2018 exercises, September 11, 2018.

"These are very important drills and they are part of routine annual work to develop the armed forces", Dimitry Peskov, Putin's spokesman, told reporters Tuesday.

The week-long war games dubbed "Vostok-2018" (East-2018), "have kicked off" in far eastern Russian Federation and on the Pacific Ocean, the defense ministry said in a statement.

In this photo taken from video provided by the Russian Defence Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, tanks roll during the military exercises in the Chita region, Eastern Siberia, during the Vostok 2018 exercises.

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.

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.

He said that an increasingly unpredictable geopolitical climate made partnership between Russian Federation and China particularly important.

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