Russian Federation launches biggest war games Vostok-2018: 10 things to know

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

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Russia's military forces in the country's east were on high alert ahead of a five-day "snap inspection" of troops to pave the way for the massive exercised called Vostok-2018.

Some noted the People's Liberation Army, which hasn't fought a war since the attempted invasion of Vietnam in 1979, is keen to learn from Russia's experience in the Syrian campaign, where it tested its latest weapons and tactics.

He added he believed the "friendship is getting stronger all the time" between the two countries.

The location of the main training range, 5,000km east of Moscow, means it is likely to be watched closely by Japan, North and South Korea, as well as by China and Mongolia, both of whose armies are to take part in the maneuvers later this week.

Hong Kong-based commentator Song Zhongping said China was anxious to acquire more experience in large-scale operations that might become a factor in a conflict with the United States and others over territorial claims in Asia.

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

China and Russian Federation have been showcasing their military partnership, in addition to political and economic ties.

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More than 25 warships and around 30 planes took part in the drills, as Russian Federation increased its military presence in Syria where it intervened to help the Bashar al-Assad regime in 2015.

Some units of the Chinese and Mongolian army are expected to join the manoeuvres at several stages.

China's participation in the exercises, known as the Vostok drills, exemplifies an overall expansion of collaboration with Russian Federation as an ally, the Kremlin has said. If we recall the "Zapad 2017", simultaneously with this event Russian Federation conducted its exercises coordinated with the "Zapad" on its territory.

It is noted that the exercises will be held under the leadership of defense Minister Shoigu Serge from 11 to 17 September in the far East of Russian Federation and in the neighboring waters of the Pacific ocean.

"Imagine 36,000 war machines moving at the same time: tanks, armoured vehicles and infantry carriers, and all of this, of course, in conditions as close as possible to the battle", Shoigu said with enthusiasm.

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 strengthening of military ties between Russian Federation and China is particularly alarming given rising tensions between each country and Washington.

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