Russian, Chinese and Mongolian troops hold joint parade

Steel march Putin reviews troops & armor on parade during massive military drills

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.

The exercise called Vostok-2018 (East-2018), will run until September 17. and involves deploying additional forces to Russia's far east and a naval build-up involving its Northern and Pacific fleets.

The Vostok-2018 drills taking place in eastern Siberia close to the border with China involve 300,000 Russian troops as well as joint exercises with the Chinese army. They involve almost 300,000 Russian troops along with 1,000 Russian aircraft and 36,000 tanks and other combat vehicles.

Putin called Russian Federation a peace-loving state, which does not and can not have aggressive plans.

"Our duty toward Russian Federation, our motherland, is to be ready to stand up for its sovereignty, security and national interests, and support our allies if required", Mr Putin said. "You demonstrated the military prowess, showed your capability to successfully counter potential military threats", Putin said addressing the troops that participated in the drills.


Putin also thanked the Chinese and Mongolian soldiers, who took part in the drills and recalled the historical alliance between the three countries during World War II when they had fought together.

"We will continue to strengthen our armed forces, equip them with latest weapons and technologies, to develop worldwide military cooperation", he added.

"Today, the most active stage of the exercises is completed at the Tsugol training ground in Trans-Baikal territory".

Chinese troops have joined the Russians.

But Putin played down the threat of Russian militarism, declaring his country a "peace-loving state". "We do not and can not have any aggressive plans". The official noted that 91 observers from 57 countries, NATO Military Liaison Mission and EU Delegation to Russian Federation attend the large-scaled exercises.

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