Russian Federation stages world’s largest military drills, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation anxious

13 September, 2018, 01:58 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Russia stages world’s largest military drills, NATO worried

The ministry of defence said that nearly a third of its active military personnel was taking part in the week-long exercises in Siberia and the Russian far east, although independent analysts suggested that the numbers may have been overstated.

The Vostok 2018 exercise will last until September 17.

The maneuvers, the largest war games Russian Federation ever has had, showcase burgeoning military ties between Moscow and Beijing amid their tensions with the U.S.

It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time: "a more assertive Russian Federation, significantly increasing its defense budget and its military presence". According to reports, Chinese soldiers are also taking part in the war exercise for the first time.

Putin said Moscow has a "trusting relationship" with Beijing "in politics, security, and defense".

"Involved in the exercise will be the Eastern and Central military districts, the Northern Fleet, Airborne Troops, and long-range and military transport aircraft, as well as command centers and forces of China's and Mongolia's armed forces".

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has described the drills as even bigger than the country's largest Cold War-era exercise called Zapad 1981 that put North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies on edge.

The exercise kicked off on Tuesday along with a bilateral meeting between Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Chinese leader Xi Jinping.


"Fundamentally, the goal of this specific exercise is to project Russian military power in the Asia-Pacific region", Kokcharov said. "If Russia had not invited China, that would have been viewed by Beijing as a potentially risky activity by Russia".

Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military commentator, said Beijing, which regards the defence of its sovereignty over most of the South China Sea and the self-ruled island of Taiwan as core interests, needed to strengthen its capabilities in preparation for possible real-life military conflicts.

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".

- Russian air force's S-300 and S-400 missile systems have been deployed at Vostok 2018 drills.

"These are very important drills but they are part of routine annual work to develop the armed forces", he told reporters Tuesday.

Relations between Russian Federation and the West have been severely strained by Moscow's actions in Ukraine and Syria and its alleged interference in elections in the United States and European countries.

Taking part in the drills are about 300,000 Russian troops, over 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, up to 36,000 tanks, armoured personnel carriers and other vehicles, up to 80 ships and supply vessels, the Defence Ministry added.

Russia on Tuesday launched what it has called its largest-ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of Russian troops taking part along with Chinese soldiers in a massive show of force that has rattled the West.

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