Vostok-2018: Russia to conduct largest military exercise in September 2018
Russia is going to conduct Vostok-2018 (East-2018) military exercise in central and eastern Russian military districts from September 11 to 15, 2018. It will be biggest war games ever conducted by Russia since Zapad-81 (West-81) exercise conducted by erstwhile Soviet Union in 1981 which had seen involvement about 100,000 to 150,000 troops.
Vostok-2018 will involve participation of units from Russian Army, Air Force and Navy. More than 300,000 troops, 36,000 tanks, armoured personnel carriers, armoured infantry vehicles, over 1,000 military aircraft, two naval fleets and all its airborne units will participate in this military exercise. China and Mongolia will also participate in Vostok 2018.
Vostok-2018 exercise is being conducted in response to aggressive and unfriendly attitudes towards Russia by NATO and West countries. Tensions between Moscow and NATO had been running high since Russian annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014 and Russia backed uprising in eastern Ukraine, alleged meddling in US presidential elections of 2016 and nerve agent attack on ex-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in UK in March 2018, which have resulted in sharp escalations. NATO has also stepped up deployment of forces in East Europe and Russia has increased its naval presence in Mediterranean Sea off Syria. Moreover, involvement of China will be also significant and also improve Chinese-Russian military relations, as well as to prevent Chinese concern about military exercises near their border.