April 21, 2019
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Russia kicks off biggest military drills since Cold War

Chita, Russia, Sep 11 (efe-epa).- Russia on Tuesday kicked off Vostok-2018, its biggest military exercises since the Cold War, with the participation of around 300,000 troops, the defense ministry said.

Members of the Eastern and Central military districts as well as ships of the Pacific and Northern Fleets, the Airborne Force, more than 1,000 aircrafts - including planes, helicopters and drones - and around 36,000 tanks and other armored vehicles would be taking part in the exercises.

"When planning the maneuvers, we performed all the obligations pursuant to the Agreement with the People's Republic of China, Republic of Kazakhstan, Republic of Tajikistan, and Kyrgyz Republic on strengthening of trust in military sphere on borders," the statement added.

The drills, set to conclude on Sep. 17, will be carried out in two stages.

In the the first phase, troops will be deployed in the Russian Far East, the North-Pacific and the Northern Sea, while the second phase would test inter-forces coordination in both defensive and attack operations.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as observers from 57 countries as well as the NATO military liaison office and representatives of the European Union, are expected to attend the drills.

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu called the drills the most important - in terms of the area covered and the number of troops and arms of the military command involved - since the Zapad-81 exercises in 1981.

China and Mongolia will also be participating in Vostok-2018.

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