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Putin inspects war games billed as Russia’s biggest-ever

Putin inspects war games billed as Russia’s biggest-ever”

The exercise called Vostok-2018 (East-2018), will run until September 17. and involves deploying additional forces to Russia's far east and a naval build-up involving its Northern and Pacific fleets.

Vladimir Putin looked on as the Vostok 2018 programme got underway, with around 300,000 Russian troops taking part in the so-called "war games" which are the largest in almost four decades.

Vostok-2018 is taking place at a time of heightened tension between the West and Russian Federation, and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has said it will monitor the exercise closely, as will the United States which has a strong military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The President added that it was for the first time that the armed forces of post-Soviet Russia have undertaken such a tough drill, involving the participation of around 300,000 soldiers, more than 1,000 aircraft, dozens of ships and 36,000 armoured vehicles.

Putin called Russian Federation a peace-loving state, which does not and can not have aggressive plans.

Accepting salutes from marching soldiers and tanks flying Chinese flags, Mr Putin said Russian Federation was a peaceful country that wanted co-operation with foreign states but needed to protect its and its allies' sovereignty.

"Therefore we are going to further strengthen our armed forces, supply them with the latest generations of weapons and equipment, develop global military partnership", he added.

On site, Mr Putin praised the "mastery" of the Russian army and its "ability to deal with potential threats".

"Today, the most active stage of the exercises is completed at the Tsugol training ground in Trans-Baikal territory".

The large-scaled war games involve troops from the Eastern and Central Military Districts, the Northern Fleet and the Airborne Troops, as well as some units from the Russian Aerospace Forces.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said: "These are the largest drills of the Armed Forces, which acquired the status of global drills, since the Zapad 1981 exercises".

"Russia is a peace-loving state".

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Russian Chief of General Staff Valery Gerasimov, Chinese Defense Minister Wei Fenghe and Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff Department of China's Central Military Commission Shao Yuanming, as well as Hansalem Lhagvasuren, a brigade commander of the Armed Forces of Mongolia, as well as 87 observers from 59 countries, attended the drills, according to the Kremlin.



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