China and Mongolia will also participate in Vostok-2018, which will be the largest war games since the Zapad-81 exercises in 1981, which were the largest Soviet war games ever helRussian tanks Zapad (Associated Press)
Russia’s military forces in the country’s east were put on high alert Monday ahead of massive war games that also involve China and Mongolia, the largest show of power in nearly 40 years.
The massive war games, Vostok-2018, will be “the largest preparatory action for the armed forces since Zapad-81,” according to the Russian defense minister.
The Zapad exercises in 1981 involved about 100,000 to 150,000 troops, the largest Soviet war games ever held.
Russia’s military forces in the country’s east were put on high alert Monday ahead of massive war games that also involve China and Mongolia, the largest show of power in nearly 40 years, the Russian defense minister said.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the five-day “snap inspection” of the troops will pave the way for the massive exercise called Vostok-2018, or East-2018, which will be held in August and September.
Vostok-2018 will be “unprecedented in scale, both in terms of area of operations and numbers of military command structure, troops and forces involved,” Shoigu said, according to The Moscow Times, adding that it will also be “the largest preparatory action for the armed forces since Zapad-81.”
The Zapad exercises in 1981 were the largest war Soviet war games ever held, according to the CIA, with about 100,000 to 150,000 troops participating.
In 2009, Russia re-initiated the Soviet-era quadrennial Zapad war games, which were most recently held last year.
Sim Tack, chief military analyst at Force Analysis and a global fellow at Stratfor, told Business Insider that about 70,000 troops participated in Zapad 2017.
According to the Vienna Document, international observers must be present for military exercises involving more than 13,000 troops.
“But it is difficult to establish what counts as a single exercise,” Tack said, “some [say] that Zapad 2017 for example, was much larger, but less than 13,000 were in the field in Belarus with the others holding simultaneous exercises across Russia.”
“That’s kind of a loophole in that convention,” Tack added.
The Pentagon didn’t immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
China and Mongolia will also participate in Vostok-2018, with Beijing sending about 3,200 troops.
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said President Vladimir Putin could attend the exercise.
Speaking to the top Russian military brass, Shoigu said army, air force and navy units will take part in the exercise that will be held across the Far East and Siberia.
As part of a smaller, separate military exercise this week under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security group dominated by Moscow and Beijing, Chinese warplanes landed Monday at a Russian air base in the Chelyabinsk region in the Ural Mountains.
The Russian military has increased both the scope and frequency of its maneuvers amid tensions with the West. It also has expanded military ties with China.
Moscow and Beijing have conducted a series of joint military maneuvers, including exercises in the South China Sea and navy drills in the Baltics last summer.
The two countries have forged what they described as a “strategic partnership,” expressing their shared opposition to the “unipolar” world — the term they use to describe perceived U.S. global domination.