Russian Federation to hold biggest war games since Cold War


Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the exercises would be similar in size to those held in September 1981 by the Soviet authorities, called Zapad-81, or West 81.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced plans for an upcoming military exercise - dubbed Vostok-2018, which translates to East 2018 - on Tuesday.

China's and Mongolia's armed forces will provide ground troops as well as planes, helicopters and command posts, the source added.

Russia plans to stage its biggest war games in almost four decades in a massive military exercise including the Chinese and Mongolian armies, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday according to multiple Russian news agencies.

"Imagine that at the same time in movement at work are 36 thousand units of military equipment - tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, and all this, of course, is tested in conditions as close to the fighting", - said Shoigu.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the Vostok-2018 drills were justified given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes towards his country.

Russian Federation has consistently condemned Western military activity and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation maneuvers as provocative, but Peskov's reply may hint at a growing unease in Moscow, which is still uncertain about President Donald Trump as it watches the defense alliance deploy an array of units to its eastern flank.

Referring to the Soviet manoeuvres in 1981, he said: "In some ways they will repeat aspects of Zapad-81, but in other ways the scale will be bigger".

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"Vostok demonstrates Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict".

China and Russian Federation have taken part in joint military drills before but not on such a large scale. Since Moscow annexed Ukraine's Crimea in 2014, has increased forces in eastern Europe to deter more Russian military action.

Now, almost a year after that operation - and almost a year after the latest iteration of its own regular Zapad exercises - Russian Federation is hailing the approach of more war games.

He said the involvement of Chinese units showed Russian Federation and Beijing were co-operating in all areas.

"All nations have the right to exercise their armed forces", he wrote in an email.

But Nato claimed Russian Federation could have been massively under-reporting the scale of the exercises, which some of the alliance's eastern members said involved more than 100,000 servicemen.

The Reuters news agency reported this story.