Russian Federation and China to conduct regular war games together, minister says

300K Russian troops to participate in largest military exercises in decades report

300K Russian troops to participate in largest military exercises in decades report

Although the war games serve Moscow's propaganda machine, officials declined to name the imagined enemy of the Russian, Chinese and Mongolian forces taking part in Vostok-2018.

The exercises are taking place at a time of heightened tensions between the West and Russia, including accusations of Russian influence in Western affairs and the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

Beijing is sending about 3,200 troops, 900 combat vehicles and 30 aircraft to join the drills at a firing range. Marines made motorized march to the loading to landing ships.

The Russian president has mobilised his army to the country's Far East to take part in unprecedented military drills on a scale not seen since the height of the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Later stages will involve rehearsals of both defensive and offensive scenarios.

The weeklong Vostok (East) 2018 maneuvers launched Tuesday span vast expanses of Siberia and the Far East, the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans.

Details about the Sino-Russo joint military exercise, which is called "Vostok" war games, revealed the extent of the activity.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were justified given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes toward Russian Federation by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation block.

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- At least 24 helicopters and six fighter jets belonging to the Chinese air force are taking part in the exercise. Vostock includes many smaller scale exercises that happen every year and obsolete equipment has also been put into use, apparently to inflate the war games size, Jack Watling, an expert at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), wrote in an article this month.

"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 Chinese officers and soldiers participating in the drills will demonstrate the determination and ability to maintain regional peace and stability with practical actions", it said.

The war games are held a year after Russian Federation staged major drills in the country's west last September, unnerving neighbouring former Soviet republics. That alone would be enough to make headlines, but another twist has cinched it: China is taking part in the war games as well-the first time Russian Federation has invited any country beyond its former Soviet satellites, notes the Wall Street Journal. It also "signifies that the political strategic trust and military cooperation between China and Russian Federation has reached a historic high".

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

"I think that nations act out of their interests".

"I see little in the long term that aligns Russian Federation and China", he said.

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