Vostok War Games 2018 - how anxious should the West be?

President Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy wave to the crowd as they drive down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington during the inaugural parade on Jan. 20 1981

Whereas during the drills on its western borders last year, known as Zapad 2017, Russian Federation was accused of downplaying the number of troops involved, this year's war games are the opposite, with Moscow apparently eager to flaunt their scale.

The Vostok-2018 drills involve around 300,000 troops, more than 1,000 aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles, up to 80 vessels, up to 36,000 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and other vehicles.

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. Mongolia is also sending some units.

The games span vast expanses of Siberia and the Far East, the Arctic and the Pacific Oceans.

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

In response to the impending Vostok-18 games Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon announced late last month, "We urge Russian Federation to take steps to share information regarding its exercises and operations in Europe to clearly convey its intentions and minimize and potential misunderstanding".

Some experts see the war games as a message to Washington from Moscow and Beijing. Participation can only be compared to the Soviet drill "Zapad-1981", which took place on the western Soviet borders that and had spread to the Baltic region.

The war games demonstrate "Russia's focus on exercising large-scale conflict", North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesman Dylan White said in late August, stating that the Western alliance had been briefed about Vostk-2018 and would monitor it.

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Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday that Russian Federation and China will hold major war games similar to the ongoing Vostok 2018 exercises on a "regular basis".

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who put the troops in the central and eastern military districts involved in "Vostok 2018" on alert in August, will personally supervise the march of the exercises after meeting yesterday with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

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.

The Russian defense Ministry said that the necessary maneuvers to test the readiness of military control bodies during planning and conducting the regrouping of troops over great distances.

He said that an increasingly unpredictable geopolitical climate made partnership between Russian Federation and China particularly important.

The military exercises come amid escalating tensions between Moscow and the west over accusations of Russian interference in western affairs and conflicts in Ukraine and Syria.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were compulsory to safeguard itself amid the present worldwide condition which is quite belligerent and antagonistic.

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