Russia begins today in eastern Siberia to the largest military maneuver since the Cold War. 300,000 soldiers, 36,000 armored vehicles, more than 1,000 airplanes, helicopters and drones and 80 navy ships take part in the ‘Vostok-2018’ exercise .
The last time such a major exercise was held in Russia dates back to 1981, amid the Cold War. The exercise that starts today, however, counts more troops. 3200 soldiers and 30 aircraft from China also participate in the exercise and Mongolia also sends troops.
The maneuver comes at a time when tensions between Russia and NATO escalate. The relationship between the two has deteriorated since the annexation of the Crimea in 2014. According to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov is the largest exercise justified because of the “aggressive and hostile attitude” towards Russia. Today and tomorrow the operation will mainly be prepared. Starting the actual operations on Thursday and will last five days, reports General Valery Gerasimov. The exercise will take place at five military areas, four airbases and regions in the Sea of Japan, the Bering Strait and the Sea of Okhotsk.
During the maneuver, there is no fight against a fictitious foreign power. The central military district of Russia and the northern fleet are fighting against the eastern district and the Pacific fleet. The main goal is to practice the rapid deployment of thousands of troops, as well as the deployment of aircraft and vehicles, from the west to the east of Russia, according to BBC on the authority of TV Zvezda.
In the autumn, NATO is probably also the biggest military exercise since the Cold War. From 25 October to 7 November, more than 40,000 soldiers from some 30 NATO and partner countries will train together in Norway.