Russian Federation prepares for largest military exercise since cold war

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Russian Federation prepares for largest military exercise since cold war

The drills kicked off close to Russia's border with China on Tuesday and will run through Saturday.

"The war games have laid a foundation for China and Russian Federation to enhance cooperation on worldwide arena and will lift the combat proficiency of both sides", he said.

He said: "It fits into a pattern we have seen over time - a more assertive Russian Federation, increasing its defence budget and military presence".

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 prominent guests.

The Chinese military has joined hundreds of thousands Russian troops to take part in the nation's largest ever war games - a powerful show of burgeoning military ties between Moscow and Beijing amid their tensions with the US.

Beijing is sending about 3,200 troops, 900 combat vehicles and 30 aircraft to join the drills at a firing range.

"China [also] has growing military capabilities and is playing an increasingly significant global role ... it's important for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to engage with China", she said.

Russian Federation will showcase some of its latest military hardware at Vostok-2018, including nuclear-capable Iskander missiles T-90 tanks and Su-35 fighter jets.

Week-long deployment alongside Chinese, Mongolian armies dubbed "Vostok-2018" will start in eastern Siberia on Sep.

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

Relations between the West and Russia sharply deteriorated after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and a pro-Russian rebellion broke out in eastern Ukraine.

With 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 vehicles, 1,000 aircraft and 80 ships, the Vostok 2018 exercises will be even bigger than the mock battles fought during the Cold War.

Vostock includes many smaller scale exercises that happen every year and obsolete equipment has also been put into use, apparently to inflate the war games size, Jack Watling, an expert at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), wrote in an article this month.

"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, according to Agence France-Presse.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov last month said Russia's "ability to defend itself in the current worldwide situation is justified, essential and without alternative".

The drills are being held in Russia's Eastern and Central military districts, which encompass more than half of the country's territory.

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