Russian Federation says joint war games with China will be routine

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Russia on Tuesday launched what it has called its largest-ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of Russian troops taking part along with Chinese soldiers in a massive show of force that has rattled the West.

The week-long war games dubbed "Vostok-2018" (East-2018), "have kicked off" in far eastern Russian Federation and on the Pacific Ocean, the defense ministry said in a statement.

Vostok 2018 is the largest overseas joint military exercise involving Chinese troops since 2012.

China has sent about 3,200 troops, 900 combat vehicles and 30 aircraft to join the drills at a Siberian firing range - a significant deployment that reflects its shift toward a full-fledged military alliance with Russian Federation.

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.

Shoigu said the exercises would be on an "unprecedented scale both in territory and number of troops involved".

Eighty warships are taking part and the Russian fleet is deploying several frigates equipped with Kalibr missiles - the same type that been used in Syria.

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The five-day games kicked off simultaneously at five of the designated training grounds located around the Far East Russian region as well as in the maritime areas such as that of the East Sea (Sea of Japan) and the Bering Sea.

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 September 11-17 exercises, called Vostok-2018 (East-2018) and billed by Moscow as its biggest in decades - or in history - come amid persistently high tension between Moscow and the West and are being closely watched by North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. "I see little in the long-term that aligns Russian Federation and China", Mattis told reporters in Washington.

This activity was part of the first stage of the exercise, which runs until September 17, the ministry said in a statement.

In 2017, Russian Federation conducted series of military drills in its western regions, in collaboration with Belarus. They also serve as an exercise in "military muscle-flexing" to Russia's global rivals.

"(China) is the flawless 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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