Russia plans the largest military exercises since the Zapad drills during Soviet times in 1981. Putin himself has ordered snap drills to check readiness ahead of the war games throughout the Russian Federation.
Russia is holding war games dubbed Vostok-2018 (“East-2018”) in the central and eastern military districts in August and September, with some 3,200 Chinese troops scheduled to join the exercises in Siberia’s Zabaikalsky region next month.
Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu called the upcoming games “the largest preparatory action for the armed forces since Zapad-81,” referring to war games conducted by the Soviet Union in 1981. The minister said that the upcoming games would be “unprecedented in scale, both in terms of area of operations and numbers of military command structure, troops and forces involved.”
Airborne Troops have been activated as part of the Aug. 20-25 snap inspection with long-range and transport aviation in the regions, Interfax quoted Shoigu as saying Monday. Shoigu said that the mass inspection involving 16 special drills was launched on the orders of President Vladimir Putin, reported The Moscow Times.
Recently Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said new sanctions making their way through the American Congress would be an economic act of war against Russia by the United States, and Russia would respond accordingly. It looks like exercising the Russian military is one way to get the American government’s attention. The involvement of the Chinese is also meant to send a message to Washington, as Trump threatens to increase tariffs on substantially more Chinese goods.