Russian Federation includes China in biggest war games in decades

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

But according to Keir Giles, a Russian military expert at the UK-based Chatham House think-tank, the overall aim of the drill is to "prepare Russia for armed conflict with the West".

Putin praised Russia's increasingly close ties with China as he met Xi in Vladivostok on Tuesday.

NATO, which will hold its own military exercises next month, has denounced the Russian drills as "exercising large scale conflict" - but Moscow says it's just routine.

Russian Federation has launched what it has called its largest ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of troops taking part along with Chinese soldiers in a show of force condemned by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as a rehearsal for large-scale conflict.

The huge military operation includes 36,000 tanks, more than 1,000 aircraft and 80 navy vessels, according to Russia's defence minister.

The country´s war games in Eastern Europe previous year, Zapad-2017, saw 12,700 troops take part according to Moscow.

The Chinese media touted the Chinese involvement in the maneuvers as the country's largest-ever dispatch of forces overseas for war games.

The Vostok 2018 exercise will last until September 17.

The main aim was to check the military's readiness to move troops large distances, to test how closely infantry and naval forces cooperated, and to flawless command and control procedures. The drills are underway at five military training grounds in Russia's Far East region, and in the waters of the East Sea, the Bering Sea and the Sea of Okhotsk.

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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.

Eighty warships are taking part and the Russian fleet is deploying several frigates equipped with Kalibr missiles - the same type that been used in Syria.

Shoigu has said they are the biggest since a Soviet military exercise, Zapad-81 (West-81) in 1981.

"We have trustworthy ties in political, security and defence spheres", the Russian leader said.

Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed such concerns on Tuesday.

But Russia pivoted east towards China after the West sanctioned Moscow over its annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region in 2014 and trade links between the two, who share a land border over 4,200 km long, have blossomed since.

Russia´s previous military exercise in the region, Vostok-2014, was nearly half the size, with 155,000 soldiers participating.

Since then Moscow has increased the number of its large-scale military exercises in the Caucasus, the Baltic and the Arctic.

About 3,200 troops, along with over 1,000 pieces of weaponry and 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters from the People's Liberation Army (PLA)'s Northern Theater Command, are scheduled to conduct combat training together with the Russian troops from Tuesday to Thursday.

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