NATO Alarm: Russia Announces Vast Scale of World’s Biggest Military Exercise Since Cold War – And China is Taking Part
- NATO Alarm: Russia Announces Vast Scale of World’s Biggest Military Exercise Since Cold War – And China is Taking Part
by AFP, via https://www.scmp.com/frontpage/hk
Chinese forces begin arriving for the massive Vostok-2018 exercises, involving 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft, which will simulate large-scale warfare in Russia’s east
Russia will flex its military muscles and hold the world’s biggest war games since the cold war era next month, including almost 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft, the defence ministry said, leading Nato to warn of a “more assertive Russia”.
The Vostok-2018, or East 18, exercises simulating large-scale warfare, which the Kremlin called “justified”, will be carried out from September 11 to 15 in the country’s east, with troops from China and Mongolia also taking part.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the exercises would be similar in size to those held in September 1981 by the Soviet authorities, called Zapad-81, or West 81.
Those were unprecedented at the time in terms of the number of troops and military hardware, with around 100,000 troops involved, Russian television reported. “This will be something of a repeat of Zapad-81, but in some senses even bigger,” Shoigu said in comments reported by Russian news agencies.
The war games come as Russia is hit by the latest round of US sanctions and faces even harsher ones over its alleged role in a nerve agent attack in Britain, with relations with the West at their lowest ebb since the cold war.
Nato spokesman Dylan White said that since Vostok-2018 would take place east of the Ural Mountains, Moscow was not obliged to notify the West or invite observers from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, although an invitation had been extended to military attaches. The planned drill showed “a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence,” White said.