Russia to launch biggest war games in its history

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But Russia's defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said these exercises were even larger.

"The Vostok 2018 troop exercises have begun in Russia's Far East", the defence ministry said in a report by TASS.

The People's Liberation Army, China's military, was "still in the process of acquiring combined arms training and expertise as it transformed into an informationised and modern fighting force", he said.

About 36,000 Russian tanks and armoured vehicles, 1,000 warplanes, helicopters and drones, and 80 warships will be joined by 900 Chinese combat vehicles and 30 aircraft, underscoring a growing partnership between Beijing and Moscow to challenge American global hegemony.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has described the drills as even bigger than the country's largest Cold War-era exercise - Zapad 1981 - that put North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies on edge.

"The maneuvers are aimed at deterring the aggressive intentions of the US and NATO", Ret. Gen. Leonid Ivashov said.

He was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying that the drills were "also a response to the U.S. sanctions".

Russian Federation has begun the world's largest military drills, involving 300,000 soldiers.

As well as Russian soldiers, those of China and Mongolia will also be involved, offering clear evidence of closer ties between Moscow and Beijing.

"China, by sending a PLA [People's Liberation Army] element to train with the Russians, is signaling that United States pressure is pushing it towards much closer military cooperation with Moscow".

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Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the opening day of a September 11-13 economic forum in the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok, is expected to observe the exercises briefly during his trip.

Mr Putin and Mr Jinping were pictured yesterday cooking pancakes with caviar in a freakish photo opportunity yesterday.

Moscow and Beijing have forged what they called a "strategic partnership", and expressed their shared opposition to the "unipolar" world - a term they use to describe perceived USA global domination.

Experts said in reality neither China or Russian Federation believe the two are close to a full-fledged military alliance, but the joint drills nonetheless reflected how much more cooperative the two countries' relationship has become, after decades of suspicion during the Soviet period.

He noted that China feels that the Washington's hostile attitude and actions, such as deploying the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea, relieve it of any need to take USA views into consideration when deepening strategic trust with Moscow.

Some 3,500 Chinese troops will take part in the games.

"We're aware of Russia's right to sovereignty and to exercise in order to ensure their readiness", he said.

"It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time - a more assertive Russian Federation, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence", said the alliance´s spokesman Dylan White. "They demonstrate the seriousness of our intentions".

"It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time - a more assertive Russian Federation, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence", the alliance's spokesman Dylan White said late August.

"This is a milestone for Sino-Russian military ties", Alexander Gabuev, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Moscow Center, wrote on Twitter.

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