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Russian Federation to Hold Largest Military Exercises in almost 4 Decades

Russian Federation to Hold Largest Military Exercises in almost 4 Decades”

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.

About 300,000 Russian troops, 1,000 aircraft and 36,000 military vehicles are taking part in the exercise, which is the biggest in the country since Zapad-81 at the height of the cold war.

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 star guests.

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

- Three brigades of Russian paratroops will play a key role, during drills at the Tsugol military range, near Russia's borders with China and Mongolia.

The Russian defence ministry released video footage of military vehicles, planes, helicopters and ships getting into position for the initial stage of the drills.

Some experts pointed out that the US helped spawn closer Russia-China military ties by labeling them strategic competitors.

Putin said Moscow has a "trusting relationship" with Beijing "in politics, security, and defense". A Mongolian unit will also be involved, ...

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesman Dylan White said the war games revealed "a more assertive Russia" which is "significantly increasing its defence budget and military presence".

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

"Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving all at the same time; tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles - and all of these in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible", Sergey Shoigu, Russia's defense minister, said this month. The exercise will be spread across five army training grounds, four airbases and areas in the Sea of Japan, the Bering Strait and the Sea of Okhotsk.

"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.

He added: "Russia also thinks that the worldwide reactions to its appalling behaviour over recent years - including the seizure of Crimea, aggression against Ukraine, causing and abetting untold suffering in Syria, the attempted murder of the Skripals and more - are just more indications of this "aggressive and unfriendly" attitude by the rest of the world".

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

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".

Relations between Russian Federation and the West declined sharply in 2014 with Moscow´s annexation of Crimea and the subsequent conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Moscow has increased the number of its large-scale military exercises in the Caucasus, the Baltic and the Arctic in recent years.



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