China and Russia to conduct regular war games together, says Russian minister

A Russian tank goes through its paces. The Vostok 2018 war games start on Tuesday

The Chinese media described the country's involvement as its largest-ever dispatch of forces overseas for war games.

The second phase and the most important part of the war games involve practice confrontation where the Chinese military and the Mongolian Armed Forces will battle with Russia's armies from its Central military district.

"With its Vostok-2018 exercise, Russia sends a message that it regards the USA as a potential enemy and China as a potential ally", wrote Dmitri Trenin, a former Russian army colonel and director of the Carnegie Moscow Center think tank.

China's participation in the exercises, known as the Vostok drills, exemplifies an overall expansion of collaboration with Russian Federation as an ally, the Kremlin has said.

Russian Federation on Tuesday launched its largest military exercise at the Tsugol training range in Russia's Trans-Baikal region in eastern Siberia.

Big Russia-China war games are apparently going to be routine going forward, the Russian defence minister revealed Wednesday.

The alliance has said the "East 2018" maneuvers demonstrate that Russian Federation is focusing on preparations for a large-scale conflict.

- The Russian Navy Pacific Fleet has also started military exercise Vostok 2018.




As the manoeuvres kicked off, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Russian Federation to attend an economic forum in Vladivostok.

Dubbed Vostok-2018, the war games involve hundreds of thousands of troops, armoured vehicles, tanks, drones and warships.

China's presence is being seen as a signal from both countries emphasizing their cooperation at a moment when Moscow and Beijing find themselves in a confrontation with the United States.

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

He emphasized that "Russia is a peaceful nation", but noted that the country needs to strengthen its military capability to "be ready to protect its sovereignty, security and national interests, and, if necessary, support our allies".

The scale of Vostok-2018 is equivalent to the forces deployed in one of the big World War II battles, the BBC said. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has since perceived Russia's move as a direct provocation against its member states that it beefed up its military forces in Eastern Europe to deter potential Russian military invasion.

The exercises are taking place at a time of heightened tensions between the West and Russia, including accusations of Russian influence in Western affairs and the ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were justified given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes towards Russian Federation.

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