Russia, China Flex Military Might Together

Clay Curtis
September 12, 2018

Russian Federation kicked off the biggest war games in its history yesterday, mobilising 300,000 troops joined by more than 3,000 Chinese soldiers in a show of military might meant to counter what it called the "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes towards it.

The global military exercise, named Vostok-2018, will involve 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 planes and 80 warships, according to Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu.

He said it would involve more than 1,000 warplanes, helicopters, and drones; up to 80 combat and logistics ships; and up to 36,000 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other vehicles.

Russian Federation has begun the world's largest military drills, involving 300,000 soldiers.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were taking place in light of the "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes toward Russian Federation, according to the BBC.

The main aim was to check the military's readiness to move troops large distances and test how closely infantry and naval forces cooperated. President Vladimir Putin treated Xi to pancakes with caviar and shots of vodka in a show of their warm rapport.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesperson Dylan White said that the military organization has been briefed about the exercise in May and it would monitor it. "Vostok demonstrates Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict".

President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend Vostok-2018 after hosting an economic forum in Russia's far eastern city Vladivostok where his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is one of the prominent guests.

Russia's Defence Ministry boasted on Monday that the drill will be the largest since Zapad-81, when the USSR held war games involving around 150,000 troops.

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The Russian army will roll out all of its latest additions for the event: Iskander missiles that can carry nuclear warheads, T-80 and T-90 tanks and its recent Su-34 and Su-35 fighter planes.

Eighty warships are taking part and the Russian fleet is deploying several frigates equipped with Kalibr missiles - the same type that been used in Syria.

He noted that China feels that the Washington's hostile attitude and actions, such as deploying the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, relieve it of any need to take US views into consideration when deepening strategic trust with Moscow.

Xi said the two countries' friendship was "getting stronger all the time".

"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", the alliance's spokesman Dylan White said late August.

But Russia pivoted east towards China after the West sanctioned Moscow over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014 and trade links between the two, who share a land border over 4,200 km long, have blossomed since.

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.

Part of Russia's response has been to increase the number of large-scale military exercises across the globe in an apparent bid to project power and ward off perceived Western aggression.

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