Russia, China Conduct Moscow's LARGEST WAR GAMES in History — EASTERN ALLIANCE

Mikhail Metzel  TASS

Mikhail Metzel TASS

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday visited Russia's largest-ever military drills in eastern Siberia, where he said Moscow planned to strengthen the country's armed forces.

The weeklong Vostok (East) 2018 maneuvers span vast expanses of Siberia and the Far East, as well as the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans. It involves about 300,000 servicemen, over 1,000 aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles, 80 ships, and 36,000 tanks and other vehicles. The exercise surpasses even the biggest Soviet manoeuvrs in 1981.

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

The Associated Press reports that Putin addressed reporters near the Tsugol firing range, 80 miles north of China's border and where the war games took place, saying that Russian Federation needs a stronger military to properly counter foreign threats.

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"Out duty to our country is to be ready to defend our sovereignty, our security and our national interests and, if we must, to support our allies", the president said following a huge military parade after the manoeuvres.

The Chinese and Mongolian armed forces are also participating.

The war games come amid rising tensions between Russian Federation and the US over Moscow's backing of Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war.

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