Russia holds largest military drill since Cold War
Iran Press TV
Sat Sep 15, 2018 02:56PM
Russia has held its largest-ever military drills in the Sea of Japan, amid rising tensions between Moscow and NATO.
On Saturday, Russian troops took part in the exercises, which are part of the Vostok-18 (East-2018), that kicked off in eastern Russia on Sep 11 and will run until Monday.
The exercise, described by Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as the country's largest drill since the end of the Cold War, involves nearly 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 vehicles, 1,000 planes and 80 warships.
The war games are also taking place in eastern Siberia and the far-eastern Pacific region, with Chinese troops involved.
Supported by aviation and artillery, the armed forces simulated marines capturing a shoreline area at the Klerk military training ground on a peninsula in the far eastern Primorye region on Saturday.
"What's special about this exercise is that it involves the marines, aviation, warships from the Pacific Fleet, artillery, sappers and other specialists," Major-General Dmitry Kovalenko said.
Speaking Thursday as he watched the drill, President Vladimir Putin pledged to "further reinforce" Russia's armed forces and provide them with "the latest generation weapons and technical equipment" to help them better protect the country and its allies.
Putin said the Vostok-2018 drill demonstrated that the Russian army was capable of countering military threats.
Russia has described the drill as purely defensive in nature, but NATO has already condemned it as a rehearsal for "large-scale conflict," saying it would monitor the exercise closely, as will the United States, whose relations with both Moscow and Beijing have been fraying.
The Western military alliance of NATO has boosted its presence in Eastern Europe for the duration of the Russian drill.
Putin said the Russian government advocated peace and declared that his country was a "peace-loving state."
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had earlier said that the exercise was "justified" in "the current international situation" given the "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes toward Russia.
NATO has often held military maneuvers near Russia's western borders, stationing advanced military hardware. It has also been trying to co-opt more countries from near Russia.
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