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Russia announces biggest drills since cold war, China is taking part

Russia announces biggest drills since cold war, China is taking part

2019/08/13 | 17:50

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)-

Russia will flex its military muscles

and hold the world’s biggest war games since the cold war era next month,

including almost 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft, the defence ministry said,

leading Nato to warn of a “more assertive Russia”.The Vostok-2018, or East 18, exercises simulating

large-scale warfare, which the Kremlin called “justified”, will be carried out

from September 11 to 15 in the country’s east, with troops from China and

Mongolia also taking part.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.Those were unprecedented at the time in

terms of the number of troops and military hardware, with around 100,000 troops

involved, Russian television reported.“This will be something of a repeat of

Zapad-81, but in some senses even bigger,” Shoigu said in comments.The war games come as Russia is hit by the

latest round of US sanctions and faces even harsher ones over its alleged role

in a nerve agent attack in Britain, with relations with the West at their

lowest ebb since the cold war.Nato spokesman Dylan White said that since

Vostok-2018 would take place east of the Ural Mountains, Moscow was not obliged

to notify the West or invite observers from the Organisation for Security and

Cooperation in Europe, although an invitation had been extended to military

attaches.The planned drill showed “a more assertive Russia, significantly

increasing its defence budget and its military presence,” White said.Meanwhile Kremlin spokesman Dmitry

Peskov defended the drills telling journalists that spending state funds on the

country’s defence capabilities was “justified, necessary and the only option”,

despite the country’s economic problems.Defence minister Shoigu said the drills

would be “on an unprecedented scale both in terms of the area covered and in

terms of the numbers” of military forces.“More than 1,000 aircraft, almost 300,000

troops and almost all the firing ranges of the Central and Eastern military

districts” would be involved, he said.“Imagine 36,000 pieces of military equipment

moving together at the same time – tanks, armoured personnel carriers, infantry

fighting vehicles. And all of this, of course, in conditions as close to combat

as possible.”Russian troops underwent snap checks of their

combat-readiness last week and Russia has already sent around 30 fighter planes

to aerodromes in eastern Siberia, the defence ministry said.Chinese troops have also begun arriving by train with their

equipment in the region east of Lake Baikal, the ministry said.











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