Russia’s biggest-ever war games Vostok-2018 “have kicked off” in far eastern Russia. (File)
Russia has launched what it called its largest ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of troops taking part along with Chinese soldiers in a show of force NATO condemned as a rehearsal for “large-scale conflict.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the games after hosting an economic forum in Russia’s far eastern city Vladivostok where his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is one of the prominent guests.
The week-long war games dubbed “Vostok-2018″(East-2018) “have kicked off” in far eastern Russia, the defence ministry said.
Taking part in the drills are around 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 80 ships and 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and drones.
Some 3,500 Chinese troops will take part in the games.
The defence ministry released video footage of military vehicles, planes, helicopters and ships getting into position for the initial stage of the drills.
Putin praised Russia’s increasingly close ties with China as he met with Xi at the economic forum in Vladivostok on Tuesday.
“We have trustworthy ties in political, security and defence spheres,” the Russian leader said.
Chinese President Xi for his part said the two countries’ “friendship is getting stronger all the time.”
The drills, which also include Mongolian soldiers, have been condemned by NATO as a rehearsal for “large-scale conflict”.
The military exercises come at a time of…