Russian Federation stages world’s largest military drills, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation anxious

Cheryl Sanders
September 12, 2018

300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 planes and 80 warships will take part in the drills.

A retired Russian general said the giant war games come as a warning to the United States against ramping up pressure on Russia.

The week-long war games dubbed "Vostok-2018" (East-2018), "have kicked off" in far eastern Russian Federation and on the Pacific Ocean, the defense ministry said in a statement.

The five-day military exercise known as the Vostok-2018 drills in Russia's eastern and central military districts has mobilized nearly a third of the country's soldiers, making it the largest Russian or Soviet military exercise since 1981, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a statement last month.

Russian Federation has substantially increased the size and frequency of its military exercises in recent years, particularly following its invasion of Crimea in 2014. That alone would be enough to make headlines, but another twist has cinched it: China is taking part in the war games as well-the first time Russian Federation has invited any country beyond its former Soviet satellites, notes the Wall Street Journal.


President Vladimir Putin planned to attend the exercises, featuring about 300,000 Russian troops, after hosting Chinese leader Xi Jinping at an economic forum in Russia's far eastern city Vladivostok.

Song Zhongping, a Hong Kong-based military commentator, said Beijing, which regards the defence of its sovereignty over most of the South China Sea and the self-ruled island of Taiwan as core interests, needed to strengthen its capabilities in preparation for possible real-life military conflicts.

"The army´s General Staff believes this will take place after 2020 in the form of either a global war or a series of conflicts with magnitude", he said.

The war games demonstrate "Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict", North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesman Dylan White said in late August, stating that the Western alliance had been briefed about Vostok-2018 and would monitor it.

"It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time - a more assertive Russian Federation, significantly increasing its defense budget and its military presence", the alliance's spokesman Dylan White said late August.


Forces from 10 member nations are taking part in the drills amid an ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed separatists.

The main aim was to check the military's readiness to move troops large distances, to test how closely infantry and naval forces cooperated, and to flawless command and control procedures.

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

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

Asked if the U.S.is anxious about a possible military alliance between Russian Federation and China, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Pentagon reporters Tuesday that, "I think that nations act out of their interests".


"With its Vostok-2018 exercise, Russia sends a message that it regards the USA 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.

Other reports by iNewsToday

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