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Russian Federation prepares for biggest war games in its history

Russian Federation prepares for biggest war games in its history”

Russian President Vladimir Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia September 11, 2018.

The Russian Ministry of Defense yesterday broadcast images of military trucks being transported on trains, columns of tanks, armored vehicles and warships on the move, and combat helicopters and fighter aircraft taking off.

"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".

"We have trustworthy ties in political, security and defense spheres", said Putin, who also posed for a photo op with his Chinese counterpart to cook up traditional blini pancakes.

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

Anti-aircraft technology will be at the heart of the drills today, but the main exercises will be held tomorrow, according to the country's defence ministry.

"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 last month.

Maintaining Russia's defence capabilities is "justified as rival powers are frequently quite aggressive and unfriendly", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in August in comments carried by state news agency, TASS.

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. They also serve as an exercise in "military muscle-flexing" to Russia's global rivals.

The country's war games in Eastern Europe previous year, Zapad-2017, saw 12,700 troops take part according to Moscow.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov argued the exercises were "justified" in "the current worldwide situation" given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes towards Russian Federation.

"Russia has very strong real combat abilities and the participation of the [People's Liberation Army] in such a large-scale military exercise ... indicates China's intention to learn more valuable combat practices and lift its ability for joint combat", Mr Song said.



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