Russia has begun massive military exercises across its central and eastern regions, starting weeklong war games the Defense Ministry says will involve some 300,000 personnel — twice as many as the biggest Soviet maneuvers of the Cold War era.
The September 11-17 exercises, called Vostok-2018 (East-2018) and billed by Moscow as its biggest in decades — or in history — come amid persistently high tension between Moscow and the West and are being closely watched by NATO, Radio free Europe News reports.
Military forces from the two countries will hold joint exercises at the Tsugol training range in Russia’s Trans-Baikal region, near where the borders of Russia, China and eastern Mongolia meet, from Sept. 11 to 15, the ministry added.
I added: "Vostok demonstrates Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict. It fits into a pattern… a more assertive Russia significantly increasing its defence budget & its military presence." https://t.co/4QILHbyW0e
— Dylan P. White (@dylanpwhite) August 28, 2018
China sent around 3,200 troops, along with more than 900 pieces of weaponry and 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, to conduct strike and counterattack training, among other drills, it said.
“The drills are aimed at consolidating and developing the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination, deepening pragmatic and friendly cooperation between the two armies, and further strengthening their ability to jointly deal with varied security threats, which are conducive to safeguarding regional peace and security.
China’s participation indicates, to some extent, the subtle changes in its estimation of global landscapes. Especially considering the unscrupulous provocations in the South China Sea and on the Taiwan issue, China must prepare for the worst.”
Multiple Russian divisions, including the Pacific and northern fleets, are participating in the Vostok 2018 war games from September 11 to 17. The military training operation is set to eclipse the Soviet Union’s largest-ever exercise, held in 1981. About 300,000 troops, 1,000 aircraft, 36,000 combat vehicles and as many as 80 ships will be involved, according to Russia’s Defense Ministry.
The drills will take place across five training areas, as well as the Sea of Japan, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk. Germany News reports
With thousands of troops and tanks moving toward the Suwalki Gap and the Baltic Sea, the Russian military exercise that starts this week is fueling fears of confrontation with the U.S. and its NATO allies.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.