Russia joins forces with China in largest war games since Soviet era

Russia joins forces with China in largest war games since Soviet era (Source

Russia began its largest war games since the Cold War on Tuesday, drilling hundreds of thousands of troops alongside forces from its growing ally China.

With 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 vehicles, 1,000 aircraft and 80 ships, the Vostok exercises in eastern Russia will be even bigger than the USSR’s 1981 Zapad training, according to defence ministry claims. They will last a week and take place across nine training grounds as well as in the Sea of Japan and near the Bering Strait.

Defence ministry video showed tanks and missile launchers streaming across dusty fields, rocket launchers and artillery loading onto ships and marines landing on the Arctic coast under the cover of attack helicopters.

As their forces began the movements, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping baked crepes, filled them with caviar and washed them down with vodka shots at the eastern economic forum in Vladivostok.┬áThe manoeuvres are a triumphant moment for Mr Putin, who has made the military modernisation a top priority following post-Soviet stagnation and highlighted fantastic-sounding new nuclear weapons in his state-of-the-nation speech in March. A US spy plane reported over the Sea of Japan hinted at the unease of Western countries with Russia’s biggest-ever exercises. Coming a week before a summit between the leaders of North and South Korea, the war games will reiterate Moscow’s bid to become a major military and diplomatic player in the region.

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