Russian Federation stages world’s largest military drills, North Atlantic Treaty Organisation anxious

A boy looks through the gun sight of a bazooka next to military men at a weapon exhibition during the celebrations of 'Tank's Day' in Sertolovo town outside Saint Petersburg

A retired Russian general said that the giant war games come as a warning to the USA against ramping up pressure on Russia.

Exercises similar in scale have not been held since 1981 when the Zapad-81 drills that involved about 100,000 troops were held in the Soviet Union's Belarusian, Kiev and Baltic Military Districts and in the Baltic Sea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the opening day of a September 11-13 economic forum in the Far Eastern port city of Vladivostok, is expected to observe the exercises briefly during his trip.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the drills were taking place in light of the "aggressive and unfriendly" attitudes toward Russian Federation, according to the BBC.

Strategic bombers of Russia's Aerospace Force Tupolev-95MS have successfully destroyed surface targets at a proving ground in Buryatia with cruise missiles in the Vostok-2018 exercise, the Defense Ministry told the media.

China's participation in Vostok 2018, Russia's largest military exercise for 37 years, will enhance the counter-attacking capabilities of its armed forces and reinforce ties with its northern neighbour, Beijing said on Tuesday, amid rising tensions with the United States.

About 300,000 Russian troops, 1,000 aircraft and 36,000 military vehicles are taking part in the exercise, which is the biggest in the country since Zapad-81 at the height of the cold war.

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The drills, which include the Chinese and Mongolian armies, have been condemned by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation as a rehearsal for "large-scale conflict".

"Imagine 36,000 military vehicles moving at the same time: tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles - and all of this, of course, in conditions as close to a combat situation as possible", Shoigu said, according to Agence France-Presse.

"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", White said.

- Up to 80 naval vessels and support ships from two Russian fleets will take part in the war drill, reports said.

They also serve as an exercise in "military muscle-flexing" to Russia's global rivals.

Relations between the West and Russia sharply deteriorated after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and a pro-Russian rebellion broke out in eastern Ukraine.

The war games are held a year after Russian Federation staged major drills in the country's west last September, unnerving neighbouring former Soviet republics. Ukraine and the Baltic states said the true number was far bigger.

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