14.09.2018 | Putin's huge war games ramp up tensions
Source - The Daily Express
Major drills are currently being staged in eastern Siberia close to the border with China and 300,000 Russian troops have been involved in the week-long exercise together with joint exercises alongside Chinese military counterparts.
More than a thousand military aircraft, along with 36,000 tanks, have been involved in the large-scale operation and Mr Putin said: “This is the first time our army and fleet have undergone such a difficult and largescale test.”
Despite relations with the West being at a Cold War low, Mr Putin claimed Russia was a peaceful country and wanted co-operation with any state which wanted to work in partnership with it.
But the autocratic leader stressed it was a soldier’s duty to defend his country and its allies and “therefore we are going to further strengthen our armed forces, supply them with the latest generations of weapons and equipment, develop international military partnership”.
Moscow and Beijing have vowed to stage regular joint war games similar to the massive ones being held this week, Russia’s defence minister said.
Sergei Shoigu and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe visited the Tsugol firing range in eastern Siberia where the troops were taking part in a joint exercise.
The week-long Vostok 2018 manoeuvres first launched on Tuesday in Siberia and the Far East and in the Arctic and Pacific oceans.
China sent 900 combat vehicles and 30 aircraft to join the drills at Tsugol, underlining a fully-fl edged military alliance with Russia amid tensions with the US over accusations the Kremlin meddled in the last presidential elections.
The Mongolian army also sent troops.
“Massive” mock air strikes and missile defence procedures were due to take place yesterday, according to Russia’s chief of staff General Valery Gerasimov.