Russia today launched its larged military exercise in nearly four decades, involving hundreds of thousands of troops and thousands of pieces of military hardware in all branches of its armed forces.
Chinese forces will also participate in the six-day exercise, titled Vostok 2018, contributing some 3,200 troops 900 pieces of military hardware and 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.
The Russian military has deployed more than 300,000 troops – including 6,000 paratroopers, 36,000 military vehicles, and more than 1,000 aircraft from Russia’s Eastern and Central military districts, and the Northern Fleet, the Russian Ministry of Defence said.
The exercise will focus on Russia’s efficiency in rapidly moving and deploying large numbers of military forces over large distances.
New weapons systems will also be deployed and tested during the military exercise, the defense ministry said.
The exercises come as Russia and the US drift further apart, especially on resolution of the Syria war. On Tuesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov condemned US threats to use force in Syria if chemical weapons are used.
The Russian military has for weeks warned of a possible false flag operation to use chemical weapons by Islamist extremists and the White Helmets group in Idlib.
“We particularly name geographical points where preparations are made to carry out provocations and certain terrorist groups backed by the US and its allies,” Ryabkov said.
The Syrian government has been preparing to retake Idlib, in the northwest of the country, currently under control of Al-Qaeda affiliated groups such Tahrir Al Sham.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies