Largest Russian military exercises in decades to wrap up on Monday

Largest Russian military exercises in decades to wrap up on Monday

Russia’s collaborative military exercises with China and Mongolia, dubbed Vostok-2018, draw to a close today. The week-long war games have

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Photo: National Interest

Russia’s collaborative military exercises with China and Mongolia, dubbed Vostok-2018, draw to a close today. The week-long war games have been the largest such event since the fall of the Soviet Union.

According to Russian sources, nearly a third of Russia’s active military—some 300,000 troops—were involved in Vostok-2018, along with thousands of military vehicles and aircraft. China, meanwhile, contributed 3,200 troops and 30 aircraft.

While President Vladimir Putin orchestrates war games annually, the scale and collaboration of Vostok-2018 signals new motives. Indeed, Mr Putin appears keen to show NATO and its allies that Moscow remains a powerful military force.

Analysing Chinese involvement is not as clear-cut, as Russian soldiers nearly outnumbered their Chinese counterparts 100 to 1. China’s participation has more symbolic significance, though, indicating that Beijing can partner with Moscow in the face of tensions with the West, as the Sino-US trade war continues to escalate.

However, China and Russia make use of differing strategies in asserting global influence—Beijing focuses on building economic power, while Moscow has taken a more antagonistic approach. The emergence of a strong, anti-NATO Eastern alliance is thus still unlikely.

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