RUSSIA will stage its largest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union next month with the help of its once sworn communist rivals China in the largest show of power in nearly 40 years.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia’s military forces in the country’s east were on high alert ahead of a five-day “snap inspection” of troops to pave the way for the massive exercised called Vostok-2018.
Mr Shoigu said Vostok-2018 will be “unprecedented in scale, both in terms of area of operations and numbers of military command structure, troops and forces involved,” adding that it will also be “the largest preparatory action for the armed forces since Zapad-81”.
Zapad-81 Soviet war games were the largest exercises ever held back in 1981, with about 100,000 to 150,00 troops participating.
Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said President Vladimir Putin could attend the exercises in Siberia.
China and Mongolia will also participate in Vostok-201, with Bejing sending about 3,200 troops, 900 weapons, 30 planes and helicopters, which will deploy from September 11 to 15 at Russia’s Tsugol training range near where the borders of Moscow, China and eastern Mongolia meet.
China’s Defense Ministry said in a statement “the exercise is not directed against any third party” adding that it wil focus on “maneuver defense, firepower strikes and counterattack”.
Army, air force and navy units will also take part in the exercise, which will be held across the Far East and Siberia.
The show of united force is a far cry from the days when the two giants were once sworn communist rivals after a 1969 border conflict threatened to spark nuclear war between China and the then Soviet Union.
North Korea’s escalating tensions with the US brought China and Russia closer together in a bid to stamp out the threat of an imploding World War 3.
Presidents Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping previously issued a joint statement in Moscow, where both called for a common peace plan for the peninsula and together condemned US militarisation in the region.
Keen to reign in threats from the West and its allies, Moscow and Beijing have grown closer as they attempt to avoid the outbreak of World War Three.
Last summer, the pair conducted a series of joint military exercises including in the South China Sea and navy drills in the Baltics.
Both countries have pledged to forge a “strategic partnership”, which a shared opposition to the “unipolar” world.