Xi, Putin Meet As Russia Kicks Off Biggest Ever War Games


Besides their size, the drills have attracted attention because of the participation of Chinese troops, the first time they have been invited by Russian Federation to take part in an exercise of this scale.

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. In its bid to take on the US, China will look at the military drill as an important opportunity to appease Moscow. He was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that the drills are "also a response to the USA sanctions". Mongolia also has sent a military contingent.

The Russian strongman praised the Kremlin's increasingly close ties with China as he met with Xi at the economic forum in Vladivostok on Tuesday.

The exercise - which will involve more than 1,000 military aircraft, two Russian naval fleets, up to 36,000 tanks and armoured vehicles and all Russian airborne units - began as President Vladimir Putin held talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Russian port city of Vladivostok. "Beijing and Moscow have to show Washington that they have an unbreakable strategic partnership". However, the military drills they had until now were far smaller in scale, reflecting China's caution about alliances.

The demonstration of military might will include some joint exercises with the Chinese army.

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has already condemned the war games as a rehearsal for "large-scale conflict" - and experts say they are without doubt the largest in modern Russian history.

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.

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The Vostok-2018 war games, the largest staged by Russian Federation since the Cold War, were partly held at the Soviet-built training ground in Telemba, some 200 km to the east of lake Baikal in the heart of Siberia, Efe reported.

For Russia, the increasingly robust alliance with China is particularly important amid the growing tensions with the USA and its allies, and a looming threat of more biting United States sanctions.

Russia's defence ministry hailed the drills as successful.

Vostok is the world's largest military exercise, and is hosted by Russian Federation.

"We have agreed to conduct such exercises on a regular basis", Shoigu said.

It comes at a time of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.