World Media

Russia, China Flex Military Might Together

Russia, China Flex Military Might Together

The bulk of the troops taking part in the five-day drills in eastern Russia near the Chinese border are Russian: 300,000 vs. about 3,200 from China.

- The Russian Navy Pacific Fleet has also started military exercise Vostok 2018.

While both Russian Federation and China have said the manoeuvres are not directed against other countries they do coincide with Nato's Rapid Trident 2018 military exercise in Ukraine, which started on September 3 and ends on Saturday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were taking place in light of the "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes toward Russian Federation, according to the BBC.

The main aim was to check the military's readiness to move troops large distances and test how closely infantry and naval forces cooperated.

"China, by sending a PLA [People's Liberation Army] element to train with the Russians, is signaling that United States pressure is pushing it towards much closer military cooperation with Moscow".

The Vostok 2018 exercise will last until September 17.

The exercise simulated a "massive missile attack" by an "unnamed enemy", another military official Sergei Tikhonov said.

Putin said Moscow has a "trusting relationship" with Beijing "in politics, security, and defense".

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Last month, the Kremlin's spokesman said Russia's "ability to defend itself in the current worldwide situation which is often aggressive and unfriendly to our country is justified, essential and without alternative".

Watling, an expert at RUSI, said the drills also help Russian Federation and China develop their capacity to make small-scale interventions in hotspots overseas, as Russian Federation already appears to be doing in the Central African Republic, as a means to have more heft on the world's stage.

Russian Federation on Tuesday launched its biggest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union - teaming up with China in a massive show of force that North Atlantic Treaty Organisation decried as a drill for "large-scale conflict".

"This is a very important exercise, but it is still part of the annual routine development of the Russian armed forces", he said.

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

Forces from 10 member nations are taking part in the drills amid an ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine between government forces and Russia-backed separatists.

Besides their size, the drills have attracted attention because of the participation of Chinese troops, the first time they have been invited by Russian Federation to take part in an exercise of this scale.