Start GRASP/China 300,000 Troops and 900 Tanks: Russia’s Biggest Military Drills Since Cold War

300,000 Troops and 900 Tanks: Russia’s Biggest Military Drills Since Cold War


Soviet-era military exercises once aimed at preparing for war with China are being reshaped. Now, Beijing is taking part.
Russia is mobilizing for its biggest military exercise since the height of the Cold War, the Kremlin says, citing a tense international climate that is “frequently aggressive and unfriendly towards us.”
The exercises, which are set to involve nearly 300,000 Russian troops, 1,000 aircraft and 900 tanks, will also include units from China for the first time. They will start on Sept. 11.
In a separate display of military power, Russia was reported on Tuesday to have assembled a large flotilla of warships off the coast of Syria. Russian news media outlets, citing unnamed defense ministry officials, described it is as Russia’s largest naval deployment in the area since Moscow first intervened in Syria’s civil war in Sept. 2015.
The move follows a flurry of claims by Russia, unsupported by any evidence, that the West is preparing to stage a fake chemical weapons attack inside Syria as a pretext for an assault on the forces of the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
Known as Vostok-2018 or East-2018, the September military exercises, involving land and air units, will begin near Russia’s eastern border with China and Mongolia. Both have agreed to join a series of regular exercises that used to be restricted to Russia and countries that were either once part of the Soviet Union or Soviet allies.
The participation of China, which will send helicopters and around 3,200 troops from the People’s Liberation Army, signals a significant reshaping of military exercises that began in the Soviet era. For decades they were aimed primarily at preparing the Red Army for a possible attack by or on China.
The Soviet Union and China clashed repeatedly along their long border in the late 1960s, nearly tumbling into all-out war.

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