Russian Federation launches biggest ever war games
Sep 14, 2018, 20:31
Russia and China intend to regularly conduct joint war games similar to the massive ones being held this week, the Russian defense minister said Wednesday.
The Russian defence ministry yesterday released footage of planes, helicopters, ships and military vehicles involved in the huge exercise.
"The focus of the drill has expanded from anti-terrorism to allied defense and counterattack", a China defense ministry statement said.
Asked on Tuesday if the United States was anxious about a possible military alliance between Russian Federation and China, Defence Secretary Jim Mattis told Pentagon reporters he thought "that nations act out of their interests".
General Ivashov, the chief Russian military expert, said that the movement during the drill happening to the east, and we are looking to the west.
Russia's largest military drills in over three decades, also attended by the Chinese military forces, kicked off at the Tsugol training range in Russia's Trans-Baikal region on Tuesday.
The online edition of the PLA Daily, the Chinese military's newspaper, says about 3,200 army and air force personnel and more than 1,000 armed vehicles are taking part in the exercise. "We're aware of Russia's right to sovereignty and to exercise in order to ensure their readiness".
The exercise will be spread across five army-training grounds, four airbases and areas in the Sea of Japan, Bering straits and sea of Okhotsk.
Reportedly, all modern weapons of the Russian army will be tested during the manoeuvers: the Iskander missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads, T-80 and T-90 tanks, and the latest Su-34 and Su-35 jet fighters.
Eighty warships are taking part and the Russian fleet is deploying several frigates equipped with Kalibr missiles - the same type that been used in Syria.
Jack Watling, a research fellow at London's Royal United Services Institute, told NBC News that Vostok 2018 is an attempt by both nations to prove that they can carry out military exercises at a scale that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has not achieved.
What is widely reported to be a growing personal friendship between Presidents Putin and Xi is also said to be driving increased closeness in military relations between the two powers.
Separately, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis downplayed the significance of China's participation. "I think that nations act out of their interest".
At the event on Tuesday, Xi said that China and Russian Federation would work together to maintain stability and peace in the world.
Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed western concerns on Tuesday.
The Kremlin spokesman warned at the end of August: "Russia's defense capability in the current worldwide situation, which is often quite aggressive and unfriendly to our country, is absolutely and unquestionably justified".
British authorities earlier this month announced charges against two Russian nationals for the poisoning of the Skripals. According to them, they are businessmen not linked with the GRU and have nothing to do with the Skripal case.
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