Russia, China Hold Largest-Ever Military Drills, Preparation for Major Conflict
300,000 Russian troops and Chinese soldiers rehearse side by side
Beijing has issued a startling threat to US President Donald Trump as the country teams up with Russia to launch its largest-ever military drills, with over 300,000 Russian troops and Chinese soldiers rehearse side by side in a dramatic show of force.
The drills, dubbed 'Vostok-2018' (East-2018), launched in far eastern Russia and on the Pacific Ocean, according to a statement released by the defense ministry.
Shocking video footage shows an array of military vehicles, planes, helicopters preparing their positions for the massive drill.
The drills, which are on a scale so big it has rattled Washington, including the Chinese and Mongolian armies have been condemned by nATA has a rehearsal for 'large-scale conflict'.
The drills coincide with talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of an economic forum in Vladivostok in Russia's far east on Tuesday.
It was declared by XI at a news conference following the talk, that Russia and China should work together to oppose protectionism as part of 'unilateral approaches to international problems.'
According to the DM: Xi, whose country is locked in an escalating trade showdown with the United States, did not mention Washington - but said an increasingly unpredictable geopolitical climate made partnership between Russia and China even more important.
President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend Vostok-2018 after hosting an economic forum in Russia's far eastern city Vladivostok where his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is one of the prominent guests.
Putin told Xi that Moscow and Beijing's relations were based on trust in areas ranging from politics to security and defence.
He made the comments ahead of talks with his Chinese counterpart which are being held on the sidelines of an economic forum in the city of Vladivostok in Russia's far east.
The military exercises come at a time of escalating tensions between Moscow and the West over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.
The Russian army has compared the show of force to the USSR's 1981 war games that saw between 100,000 and 150,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers take part in 'Zapad-81' (West-81) - the largest military exercises of the Soviet era.
But Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said these exercises are even larger, with 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 military vehicles, 1,000 planes and 80 warships taking part in the drills.
He said the games would be at an 'unprecedented scale both in territory and number of troops involved.'
The Russian army is rolling out all of its latest additions for the event: Iskander missiles that can carry nuclear warheads, T-80 and T-90 tanks and its recent Su-34 and Su-35 fighter planes.
At sea, the Russian fleet is deploying several frigates equipped with Kalibr missiles that have been used in Syria.
Wednesday will see games featuring anti-aircraft technology, while the main event will be on Thursday, the defence ministry told journalists covering the event in eastern Siberia.
NATO said that Vostok-2018 'demonstrates Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict'.
'It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time - a more assertive Russia, significantly increasing its defence budget and its military presence,' the alliance's spokesman Dylan White said in late August.
Last month, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia's 'ability to defend itself in the current international situation which is often aggressive and unfriendly to our country is justified, essential and without alternative'.
Relations between Russia and the West declined sharply in 2014 with Moscow's annexation of Crimea and the subsequent conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The Kremlin has also accused NATO of expanding westwards and threatening Russian national security.
Moscow has increased the number of its large-scale military exercises in the Caucasus, the Baltic and the Arctic in recent years.
Russia's previous military exercise in the region, Vostok-2014, was almost half the size, with 155,000 soldiers participating.
The country's war games in Eastern Europe last year, Zapad-2017, saw 12,700 troops take part according to Moscow. Ukraine and the Baltic states said the true number was far bigger.
Russia has been preparing for the latest drills for weeks - at one point closing a road so planes could land near Khabarovsk, and firing missiles from land, surface and submarine at a target in the Sea of Okhotsk.