Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Russian Federation kicks off biggest war games in decades, amid tensions

Russian Federation kicks off biggest war games in decades, amid tensions

Vostok 2018 is the largest overseas joint military exercise involving Chinese troops since 2012.

Moscow and Beijing plan to conduct regular joint war games similar to massive ones being held this week, Russia's defence minister said.

- Russian air force's S-300 and S-400 missile systems have been deployed at Vostok 2018 drills. Ukraine-Russia relations have not been very good after Crimea was annexed to Russia in 2014.

Asked on Tuesday if the USA 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". Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Chinese direct investment in Russian Federation soared by 72 percent in 2017.

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The country's war games in Eastern Europe a year ago, Zapad-2017, saw 12,700 troops take part according to Moscow. Speaking of the forum, Jinping said the two countries "friendship is getting stronger all the time". "I see little in the long-term that aligns Russian Federation and China", Mattis told reporters in Washington.

China's participation will enhance its counterattack abilities and reinforce ties with Russia, Chinese government officials said Tuesday.

She added: "China has growing military capabilities and is playing an increasingly significant global role". White further said that "all nations have the right to exercise their armed forces, but it is essential that this is done in a transparent and predictable manner", BBC reported.

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

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The deployment reflects its shift towards a fully-fledged military alliance with Russian Federation amid tensions with the United States.

"This is a milestone for Sino-Russian military ties", Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center, wrote on Twitter. "We're aware of Russia's right to sovereignty and to exercise in order to ensure their readiness".

More than a thousand soldiers took part in a hyper-realistic recreation of a theater of war and explosions interrupted the normally tranquil region, one of the few in Russian Federation where the population is predominantly Buddhist.

Analysts say Moscow had to invite the Chinese and Mongolian militaries given the proximity of the war games to their borders and because the scale meant the neighbouring countries would probably have seen them as a threat had they been excluded.

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