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.
In this photo taken from video provided by the Russian Defence Ministry Press Service on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, tanks roll during the military exercises in the Chita region, Eastern Siberia, during the Vostok 2018 exercises.
The war games come amid heightened tension between Russian Federation and the west and especially with Washington, with which both Moscow and Beijing have strained ties.
The maneuvers, the largest war games Russian Federation ever has had, showcase burgeoning military ties between Moscow and Beijing amid their tensions with the U.S.
The main aim was to check the military's readiness to move troops large distances and test how closely infantry and naval forces cooperated.
The Russian president has mobilised his army to the country's Far East to take part in unprecedented military drills on a scale not seen since the height of the Soviet Union in the 1980s.
"The [Vostok 2018] exercise sends a signal to Washington and its allies - if USA continues to push [Russia and China], they will have to deepen military ties", he said.
The latter comprise six Mi-171s, which were bought from Russian Federation in 2014 and are making their first appearance in such an exercise, nine Z-9s and nine Z-19s.
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Also involved are two officials from the conference, Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez and Monsignor Brian Bransfield. Conference of Catholic Bishops , and includes Francis' top adviser on the clergy abuse issue, Cardinal Sean O'Malley.
Russian Federation showcased its most sophisticated air defence system on Wednesday, using it to repel a mock attack from the sky as part of what it describes as its largest-ever military drills.
"We have trustworthy ties in political, security and defence spheres", the Russian leader said.
Hong Kong-based commentator Song Zhongping said China was anxious to acquire more experience in large-scale operations that might become a factor in a conflict with the U.S. and others over territorial claims in Asia.
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed such concerns on Tuesday.
"These are very important drills but they are part of routine annual work to develop the armed forces", he told journalists.
- Vostok-2018 it includes 297,000 servicemen.
Peskov has earlier said Russia's "ability to defend itself in the current global situation which is often aggressive and unfriendly to our country is justified, essential and without alternative".
Part of Russia's response has been to increase the number of large-scale military exercises across the globe in an apparent bid to project power and ward off perceived Western aggression.