Russia Starts Biggest War Games Since Soviet Fall Near China

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

"The scale and the scenario of those drills are in line with the current military-political situation", said Ivashov, the retired Russian general.

Putin, who is armed forces commander-in-chief, is expected to observe the exercises this week alongside Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, who is overseeing them.

The Vostok 2018 exercise will last until September 17.

Hundreds of Chinese armoured combat vehicles, attack helicopters, fighter jets and thousands of soldiers take part in the biggest military exercise in Russian Federation since 1981, in a show of strength and friendship between Asia's two largest military powers.

Russian Federation has said it is showcasing methods developed during its military intervention in Syria, giving Chinese forces - which haven't fought in a war since 1979 - a glimpse of real combat skills.

He said it would involve more than 1,000 warplanes, helicopters, and drones; up to 80 combat and logistics ships; and up to 36,000 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other vehicles.

Moscow said the weeklong Vostok (East) 2018 maneuvers will span vast expanses of Siberia and the Far East, the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans and involve almost 300,000 Russian troops - almost one-third of the country's 1-million-strong military.

The week-long military drills will feature Chinese soldiers, with Chinese President Xi Jinping in attendance alongside Russia's Vladimir Putin.

The show of military power includes Russia's Iskander missiles, which can carry nuclear warheads, as well as its Su-34 and Su-35 fighter planes.

Shoigu has said they are the biggest since a Soviet military exercise, Zapad-81 (West-81) in 1981.

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"It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time - a more assertive Russian Federation, significantly increasing its defense budget and its military presence", White said.

But Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed such concerns.

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

Relations between Russian Federation and the West declined sharply in 2014 with Moscow's annexation of Crimea and the outbreak of a Kremlin-backed uprising in eastern Ukraine.

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

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov argued the exercises were "justified" in "the current global situation" given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes towards Russian Federation.

The last war games in Vostok were in 2014 but were nearly half of the size with 155,000 soldiers taking part.

The Kremlin has also accused North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of expanding westwards and threatening Russian national security.

About 3,200 troops, along with over 1,000 pieces of weaponry and 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters from the People's Liberation Army (PLA)'s Northern Theater Command, are scheduled to conduct combat training together with the Russian troops from Tuesday to Thursday.

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