Russian biggest war-games “Vostok-2018” underway

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Russia began its biggest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union on Tuesday close to its border with China, mobilising 300,000 troops in a show of force that will include joint exercises with the Chinese army.

China and Russia have staged joint drills before but not on such a large scale, and the Vostok-2018 (East-2018) exercise signals closer military ties as well as sending an unspoken reminder to Beijing that Moscow is able and ready to defend its sparsely populated far east.

Vostok-2018 is taking place at a time of heightened tensions between the West and Russia, and Nato has said it will monitor the exercise closely, as will the United States which has a strong military presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence broadcast images on Tuesday of military trucks being transported on trains, columns of tanks, armoured vehicles and warships on the move, and combat helicopters and fighter aircraft taking off.