Russia’s Defense Ministry on Monday said it is planning the country’s largest war games since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Taking part in the war games will be troops from China and Mongolia, who will meet with Russian troops in Siberia as part of Vostok 2018.
General Sergi Shoigu, the supreme commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces said the war games will feature “unprecedented scale both in territory and number of troops involved.”
Shoigu said the war games would be the “largest event since the Zapad-81 maneuvers.” Those maneuvers included more than 160,000 troops.
If Russia is serious about the war games’ scale, it would feature more than the 155,000 troops who attended Vostok 2015. Those war games also included 600 aircraft and 80 naval vessels, according to CNN.
The war games are expected to take place from September 11 to 15 at Russia’s Tsugol training range near where the borders of Russia, China, and eastern Mongolia.
“The exercise is not directed against any third party” and will focus on “maneuver defense, firepower strikes and counterattack,” Russia’s ministry says.
The move isn’t really a surprise as Russia has spent the previous year highlighting its newest military achievements, including a supersonic missile Russian President Vladimir Putin says can strike anywhere in the world without detection. Putin says the new technology makes NATO defenses “completely useless.”
The war games arrive after a US Defense Intelligence Agency report from 2017 found Moscow to be in the middle of “a massive state armaments program” that aims to replace 70% of the country’s military weapons by 2020.
China, in the meantime, is busily launching new warships including its first domestically made aircraft carrier.
As Hill Reporter recently shared, China’s military has recently begun training its pilots for missions targeting the United States. China shot back, claiming the exercises are only meant to protect the country’s “sovereignty and security.”
Business Insider notes that the Russian and China have forged a “‘strategic partnership,’ expressing their shared opposition to the “unipolar” world — the term they use to describe perceived U.S. global domination.”