Russian Federation launched a massive military exercise on Tuesday, its biggest since the Cold War, reports the BBC.
The ministry of defence said that nearly a third of its active military personnel was taking part in the week-long exercises in Siberia and the Russian far east, although independent analysts suggested that the numbers may have been overstated.
Russian Federation began, near the border with China, the largest military maneuvers in its history, "Vostok 2018", which take place amid great tensions with the West and on the eve of a more than likely escalation of the conflict in Syria.
China is represented by 3,200 troops, more than 1,000 vehicles, six fixed-wing aircraft and 24 helicopters.
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".
"We're aware of Russia's right to sovereignty and to exercise in order to ensure their readiness", he said.
The last Russian exercise of similar scale was in 1981, during the Cold War, but Vostok-2018 involves more troops.
The military arranged several artillery batteries stocked with mid to long-range S-300, S-400, Tor and Buk missiles, the likes of which Moscow has recently sold to Syria and Iran despite protests from the U.S. and Israel.
Russia stages biggest war games ever with 300,000 troops marching alongside Chinese soldiers for the first time
Russian Federation said only 12,700 troops took part, but the Baltic States said the true number was far bigger.
The massive military exercise comes as tensions run high between Washington and Moscow, and NATO-Russia relations also appear to be weak.
"It fits into a pattern we have seen over some time - a more assertive Russian Federation significantly increasing its defense budget and its military presence", Dylan White, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation spokesman, told reporters in late August.
Russian Federation will showcase some of its latest military hardware at Vostok-2018, including nuclear-capable Iskander missiles T-90 tanks and Su-35 fighter jets.
The drills are being held in Russia's Eastern and Central military districts, which encompass more than half of the country's territory. This week, Russian Federation held military exercises in the Mediterranean.
Shoigu said the drills "will be unprecedented in terms of geographic scope and the strength of command and control centers and forces due to participate".
"(China) is the ideal instrument to project Russia as a resurgent global power, so essentially the Russia narrative is that China, Russia and to a lesser extent India, are part of this new dynamic world order", he said.
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