Russia's largest-ever war games and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation concerns

Russian President Putin shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during their meeting on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok

Putin watches war games billed as Russia's biggest ever; China taking part

More than 300,000 soldiers from Russian Federation and China are taking part in the land, air and sea exercises this week, in a show of strength and friendship between Moscow and Beijing.

Putin praised the "mastery" of the Russian army and its "capacity to face down potential threats" after watching the drills at the Tsugol military training ground near the borders with Mongolia and China.

"Russia is a peaceful nation", Putin said Thursday, according to the AP, before adding that it must "be ready to protect its sovereignty, security and national interests, and, if necessary, support our allies".

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Putin further stressed that he highly assessed the performance of the Russian army and navy in the Vostok-2018 drills.

"Therefore we are going to further strengthen our armed forces, supply them with the latest generations of weapons and equipment, develop worldwide military partnership", he added. Additionally, military cooperation will be further developed.

Units of the Chinese People's Liberation Army and Mongolian Armed Forces also participated in the drills.

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Sergei Shoigu and his Chinese counterpart Wei Fenghe visited the Tsugol firing range in eastern Siberia where the troops were taking part in a joint exercise.

Putin has flown in to the eastern Russian territory of Zabaikalsky to attend the main stage of the unprecedented military exercises, called Vostok-2018, involving more than 300,000 troops.

The Russian leader greeted the 87 observers from 57 invited countries, the liaison mission of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the representation of the European Union.

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