Russian Federation includes China in biggest war games in decades

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

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

Russian Federation today launched its largest ever war games involving hundreds of thousands of battle-ready troops alongside their Chinese comrades in arms.

Tensions have been heightened between Russian Federation and the West in the wake of ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and Syria and the Novichok attack in Salisbury.

Tanks roll during the military exercises in Chita, Eastern Siberia, during the Vostok 2018 exercises, September 11, 2018.

The war games are held a year after Russian Federation staged major drills in the country's west last September, unnerving neighbouring former Soviet republics.

Russian Federation said only 12,700 troops took part, but the Baltic States said the true number was far bigger.

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Russian military analyst Pavel Felgenhauer said the games were a "preparation for a future world war".

"We have trustworthy ties in political, security and defense spheres", said Putin, who also posed for a photo op with his Chinese counterpart to cook up traditional blini pancakes.

The drills are being held in Russia's Eastern and Central military districts, which encompass more than half of the country's territory.

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.

Given the declining and increasingly acrimonious state of relations since Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014, Putin "wishes to be as best prepared as possible to prevail in open warfare as well", Giles added.

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The Kremlin has accused North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of expanding westwards and threatening Russian national security.

"Russia has very strong real combat abilities and the participation of the PLA in such a large-scale military exercise that is specially tailored for an anti-invasion war indicates China's intention to learn more valuable combat practices and lift its ability for joint combat", Song said.

More than 25 warships and around 30 planes took part in the drills, as Russian Federation increased its military presence in Syria where it intervened to help the Bashar al-Assad regime in 2015.

Asked if the U.S.is anxious about a possible military alliance between Russian Federation and China, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told Pentagon reporters Tuesday that, "I think that nations act out of their interests".

Chinese and Mongolian troops are taking part, amid ongoing Kremlin efforts to pursue closer ties with Beijing and other Asian capitals.

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Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov argued the exercises were "justified" in "the current worldwide situation" given "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes towards Russian Federation.

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