Russian Federation holds biggest military drills since Soviet era

President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy wave to the crowd as they drive down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington during the inaugural parade on Jan. 20 1981

President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy wave to the crowd as they drive down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington during the inaugural parade on Jan. 20 1981

He said the drills are the largest since 1981, when the USSR was still in a Cold War with the United States.

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.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia's military forces in the country's east were on high alert ahead of a five-day "snap inspection" of troops to pave the way for the massive exercised called Vostok-2018.

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.

NATO Spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said that the training "fits into a pattern we have seen over some time: a more assertive Russian Federation, significantly increasing its defense budget and its military presence".

Russian Federation is preparing to hold its largest military drills in nearly 40 years beginning Tuesday in eastern Siberia.

China is sending about 3,200 troops, 900 combat vehicles and 30 aircraft to join the drills at a Siberian firing range, a significant deployment that reflects its shift toward a full-fledged military alliance with Russian Federation.

As the maneuvers kicked off, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russian Federation on Tuesday to attend an economic forum in Vladivostok.

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Xi said the two countries' friendship was "getting stronger all the time".

Russian Federation today launched its largest ever war games involving hundreds of thousands of battle-ready troops alongside their Chinese comrades in arms. To this effect, the drill will include around 300,000 Russian soldiers and officers, including 6,000 airborne troops, over 1,000 warplanes, helicopters and drones, about 36,000 artillery, and 80 combat and support ships.

"These are very important drills but they are part of routine annual work to develop the armed forces", he told journalists.

"Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving at the same time: tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles - and all of this, of course, in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible", Shoigu said.

"The fact that the drill is vastly greater in size than previous exercises in the same location is also part of the natural progression of Russia's practice for war", Giles said.

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

The war games are held a year after Russian Federation staged major drills in the country's west last September, unnerving neighbouring former Soviet republics.

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