Vostok-2018: China joins Russian Federation in biggest ever war games

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

Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in Russian Federation this week to meet with President Vladimir Putin at an economic forum in Russia's far eastern city of Vladivostok.

The U.S. and its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies are closely eyeing the exercises for what they reveal about military cooperation between Russian Federation and China and their mounting military might.

China's presence is being seen as a signal from both countries emphasizing their cooperation at a moment when Moscow and Beijing find themselves in a confrontation with the United States.

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

The Turkish Army today announced its participation as an observer in the military maneuvers being carried out by Russian Federation and China in Siberia, after being officially invited by Moscow. Spokeswoman for Russia's foreign ministry, Maria Zakharova, said: "Unfortunately, we are used to the allegations that Russian Federation is preparing for some big conflict".

Multiple Russian divisions, including the Pacific and northern fleets, are participating in the Vostok 2018 war games from September 11-17.

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"Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving all at the same time; tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles - and all of these in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible", Sergey Shoigu, Russia's defense minister, said this month. It also "signifies that the political strategic trust and military cooperation between China and Russian Federation has reached a historic high".

" When asked if he was concerned about a potential military alliance between Russian Federation and China in the future, U.S. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said he did not see the two countries aligned in the long-term".

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 week-long war games "have kicked off" in far eastern Russia, AFP quoted Russia's defence ministry as saying.

China, for its part, may want to see the latest in military technology and advanced jet engines which Russian Federation possessed, Watling 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", Peskov said.

Russian Federation has faced ever harsher sanctions since angering the West and Kiev by annexing Crimea in 2014 and backing separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

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