Published: Thu, September 13, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Chinese troops take part in Russia’s biggest military exercise in 40 years

Chinese troops take part in Russia’s biggest military exercise in 40 years

Joint military drills are not uncommon but are rarely seen on such a large scale. Putin is expected to visit the war games later this week.

"We have trustworthy ties in political, security and defence spheres", the Russian leader said.

Last month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia's "ability to defend itself in the current global situation which is often aggressive and unfriendly to our country is justified, essential and without alternative".

The exercise simulated a "massive missile attack" by an "unnamed enemy", another military official Sergei Tikhonov said.

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

In this photo provided by the Russian Defence Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, a Russian soldier guards an area during the military exercises in the Chita region, Eastern Siberia, during the Vostok 2018 exercises.

The Kremlin has insisted the exercises are routine and purely defensive.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has derided the provocative exercise, lasting for five days between September 11-15, as "exercising large-scale conflict" as hostility between Russian Federation and the West continues to esculate.

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.

Russian Federation on Tuesday launched its largest military exercise at the Tsugol training range in Russia's Trans-Baikal region in eastern Siberia.

Most experts say the figure of 300,000 is likely an exaggeration with not all of those actually taking part in the field exercises.

"In some ways (Vostok-2018) will repeat aspects of Zapad-81, but in other ways the scale will be bigger", Shoigu said. "There is also an element of theatre in this exercise".

The drills, however, allow Russian Federation to practice mobilizing and effectively transporting a large number of forces.

The military exercises come at a time of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

The exercises involve Chinese and Mongolian armies and will continue until September 17.

"I see little in the long term that aligns Russian Federation and China", he said.

"The key question is not whether Russian Federation will launch a war against NATO", Watling wrote, "but where Russian Federation - and China for that matter - aim to use their burgeoning capacity for expeditionary logistics and combined operations to project power".

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