Russia Holding Massive Military Drills, As Putin Meets Xi

300K Russian troops to participate in largest military exercises in decades report

About 300,000 Russian troops, 1,000 aircraft and 36,000 military vehicles are taking part in the exercise, which is the biggest in the country since Zapad-81 at the height of the cold war.

"Russia has very strong real combat abilities and the participation of the [People's Liberation Army] in such a large-scale military exercise ... indicates China's intention to learn more valuable combat practices and lift its ability for joint combat", Mr Song said.

"The fact that the last thing Europe and the United States want is any open conflict with Russian Federation is immaterial - it may take two to tango, but it doesn't take two sides to start a war". According to reports, Chinese soldiers are also taking part in the war exercise for the first time.

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

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the games after hosting an economic forum in Russia's far eastern city Vladivostok where his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is one of the prominent guests.

Last month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia's "ability to defend itself in the current worldwide situation which is often aggressive and unfriendly to our country is justified, essential and without alternative".

"The focus of the drill has expanded from anti-terrorism to allied defense and counterattack", a China defense ministry statement said.

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"With its Vostok 2018 exercise Russia sends a message that it regards the U.S.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.

The exercise is meant to test the capability of the Russian military.

Joint military drills are not uncommon but are rarely seen on such a large scale.

Russian Federation also staged a major naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean this month and its jets resumed bombing the Syrian region of Idlib, the last major enclave of rebels fighting its ally President Bashar al-Assad.

In this photo provided by the Russian Defence Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, a Russian soldier guards an area during the military exercises in the Chita region, Eastern Siberia, during the Vostok 2018 exercises.

But Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed such concerns.

"Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving all at the same time; tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles - and all of these in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible", Sergey Shoigu, Russia's defense minister, said this month.

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The Kremlin has poured scorn on complaints Vostok-2018 is a cause for concern among North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members and Western nations more broadly.

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

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.

Tanks roll during the military exercises in Chita, Eastern Siberia, during the Vostok 2018 exercises, September 11, 2018.

Giles said Moscow's foreign policy decisions are "driven by delusions" such as the notion "Russia matters" and "hostile powers" are lining up to invade the country.

It involved deploying additional forces to Russia's far east and a naval build-up involving its Northern and Pacific fleets.

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