Russia begins biggest military drills since Cold War

Russia began its biggest military exercises since the Cold War, with the participation of around 300,000 troops yesterday, the Defence Ministry said. Members of the Eastern and Central military districts as well as ships of the Pacific and Northern Fleets, the Airborne Force, more than 1,000 aircraft and around 36,000 tanks and other armoured vehicles would take part in the Vostok-2018 exercises, reports Efe news.

“When planning the manoeuvres, we performed all the obligations pursuant to the Agreement with China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and the Kyrgyz Republic on strengthening trust in military sphere on borders,” the Ministry said in a statement. The drills, set to conclude on September 17, will be carried out in two stages.

In the the first phase, troops will be deployed in the Russian Far East, the North-Pacific and the Northern Sea, while the second phase would test inter-forces coordination in both defensive and attack operations. Russian President Vladimir Putin as well as observers from 57 countries are expected to attend the drills.

Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoygu called the drills the most important – in terms of the area covered and the number of troops and arms of the military command involved – since the Zapad-81 exercises in 1981.

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