Russia Says Joint War Games with China Will Be Routine
Russia Says Joint War Games with China Will Be Routine
Russia launches largest military drill since Cold War
13 September, 2018, 13:34
Russia on Tuesday launched what it has called its largest-ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of Russian troops taking part along with Chinese soldiers in a massive show of force that has rattled the West.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will attend the main stage of the Vostok-2018 (or East-2018) military drills taking place at the Tsugol firing range in the Trans-Baikal Region on September 13, the Kremlin press service said in a statement.
The war games come amid heightened tension between Russian Federation and the west and especially with Washington, with which both Moscow and Beijing have strained ties.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were justified given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes toward Russian Federation by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation block.
Analysts have said that Moscow had to invite the Chinese and Mongolian militaries given the proximity of the war games to their borders and because the scale meant the neighboring nations would probably have seen them as a threat had they been excluded.
"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.
Hong Kong-based commentator Song Zhongping said China is anxious to acquire more experience in large-scale operations that might become a factor in a conflict with the US and others over territorial claims in Asia.
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed such concerns on Tuesday.
Russia's largest war games in recent history have kicked off in the Far East.
He said that an increasingly unpredictable geopolitical climate made partnership between Russian Federation and China particularly important.
"Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving at the same time: tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles - and all of this, of course, in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible", Shoigu said.
"With its Vostok-2018 exercise, Russia sends a message that it regards the United States as a potential enemy and China as a potential ally", wrote Dmitri Trenin, a former Russian army colonel and director of the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank.
"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.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov last month said Russia's "ability to defend itself in the current worldwide situation is justified, essential and without alternative".
Russia's defence ministry hailed the drills as successful.
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