Rus­sia will bol­ster army, says Putin at mil­i­tary drills

Global Times - - World -

Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on Thurs­day vis­ited Rus­sia’s largest-ever mil­i­tary drills in eastern Siberia, where he said Moscow planned to strengthen the coun­try’s armed forces.

Rus­sia has said the Vos­tok-2018 ex­er­cises in­volve nearly 300,000 troops and all types of mil­i­tary equip­ment, as well as the par­tic­i­pa­tion of the Chi­nese and Mongolian armies.

Putin praised the “mas­tery” of the Rus­sian army and its “ca­pac­ity to face down po­ten­tial threats” af­ter watch­ing the drills at the Tsugol mil­i­tary train­ing ground near the bor­ders with Mon­go­lia and China.

Some 25,000 sol­diers, 7,000 ve­hi­cles and 250 he­li­copters and planes took part in the sim­u­lated aerial and ground at­tack from an “un­de­fined” en­emy.

“Our duty to our coun­try is to be ready to de­fend our sovereignty, our se­cu­rity and our na­tional in­ter­ests and, if we must, to sup­port our al­lies,” the pres­i­dent said fol­low­ing a huge mil­i­tary pa­rade af­ter the ma­neu­vers.

“This is why we will con­tinue to strengthen our armed forces, to pro­vide them with cut­ting edge arms and equip­ment and de­velop our in­ter­na­tional mil­i­tary part­ner­ships,” he said.

“Rus­sia is a peace­ful coun­try. We do not have and we can­not have any plans for ag­gres­sion”.

The ex­er­cises in the far east con­tinue un­til Septem­ber 17.

Rus­sia has said the drills are purely de­fen­sive in na­ture but NATO has con­demned them as a re­hearsal for “large-scale con­flict.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Rus­sian army, 87 ob­servers from 59 coun­tries were present for the Rus­sian-Chi­nese ex­er­cises.

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